With millions of us returning to organised sport in recent weeks, it has highlighted the much needed benefits that physical activity has on peoples health. As a young athlete, I too have really missed training, however at my first session back as I was running around the track, I asked myself, “Why is athletics so important to me?” Quite frankly should running in circles really appeal to me this much?

I decided to find out why this much loved sport is such a vital aspect of young peoples lives, now even more than ever. During a recent training session, I put the simple question “why is athletics so important to you” to several members of my club. My training partner, Faith, enthused, “It’s simply my passion, I love athletics!” I then asked her what in particular she likes, and she stated, “I just love the feeling of training and always trying your best, plus athletics has so many great benefits for you, in physical and mental health as well as the social side of it!”  Another training partner, Lily said, “I love athletics, because I get to hang out with my friends, which is something I really missed during lockdown.”

From the conversations I had with my fellow athletes, there was clearly a main message as to why athletics is so essential to our daily lives. It provides us with goals and something to work towards, which many of us missed during lockdown. Another team mate also echoed this saying, “Athletics keeps me motivated to stay on top of things. It was so hard when it was not available during lockdown and my apathy sadly echoed in other aspects of my life such as school work.”    

For me, when I run, I feel the stresses of the day are released, I can simply relax my mind, freeing it of consuming thoughts. It is not necessarily the running around the track, beating your personal best or even the number of times you win that is important to me, it is the elements that surround it. The friendships, the goals, the “feel good” running creates all contribute to the overall experience.

In conclusion, there are several reasons that athletics is important to many. It is key to shaping young peoples lives by bringing everyone into a collective movement where we encourage each other and work hard to improve ourselves through commitment, motivation and drive.