Lisa Gaul tells her Run Happy story as the latest winner in our Brooks competition series

I was a competitive teen runner for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers many years ago. It was my life and I loved it, from racing on the track on a boiling hot day to running cross country in the rain, wind and snow.

Angled Polaroid GaulI stopped competing and running altogether when I was 16 and it would be 13 years before I started again.

By this time I was going through a family tragedy and I was overweight. At first running was my way of escape, a way of getting my stress out plus losing the unwanted weight. A year and a half later (November 8, 2014) I found myself wearing a pair of spikes, lining up on the start line with a field of competitive women.

My first cross country race in 14 years. I was back to what I loved doing the most but this time for Barnet and District AC at the Metropolitan League at Stevenage. As soon as the gun went off and we got going the old feeling all came back. It was tough, but I felt the best I’ve felt in a long time and I loved every second of it.

Angled Polaroid 2 GaulI’m not anywhere near the standard I was back then but I’m determined to get there and if I don’t then it’s not the end of the world. I’m just so happy to be doing what I love again. Roll on the next race.

WHAT MAKES YOU RUN HAPPY?

Brooks believes in the transformative power of the run. The run can turn a day – or a life – completely around and can flat-out change the world.

That’s why each month they’re rewarding one AW reader for sharing what makes them Run Happy. We want to hear all about your Run Happy experience, whether it’s a first race, a new PB or a moment that changed your race around. It can be anything.

Each month we will pick our favourite story. Not only will it appear in Athletics Weekly, but the owner of that story will receive Brooks kit including footwear, a jacket and a tee.

Click here for further details and to submit your story.

On Twitter? Why not get social?! We’d love for you to share your stories and pictures on Twitter too – just tweet @AthleticsWeekly and @Brooksrunninguk using the hashtag #RUNHAPPYRACES.