"My club has been a lifeline"
Run Higher Collective formed during lockdown, offering new mum Noemie Cavaillon-Ram a way to stay motivated and fit running and coaching into her busy life. Here, she shares how it’s helped boost her confidence and sense of belonging as she prepares to take on The Big Half 2022.
Why are you taking part in The Big Half?
This year marks an important year for me – I’m two and a half years postnatal and this will be the furthest I’ve raced since having my daughter, Isla.
I am a keen runner, mum, run coach and personal trainer and I help mothers return to running after birth. I usually do high volume training in preparation for marathons, the odd triathlon and mountain-running races. However, since having a toddler, lockdown, moving house and starting a new career, and because of the lack of sleep that comes with having a baby, I’ve had to back off a bit on training – for once, life has come first!
So, I am finally getting back into running – and it’s important to me to go a bit further and faster!
How important is community in your life?
The Run Higher Collective has been a lifeline. We formed over lockdown, helping each other stay motivated, further our education in running and training and stay fit and motivated throughout lockdown. We’ve since run in-person sessions.
The Run Higher Collective accepted me as a coach who is also a mum. Some sessions I brought my daughter with me. It isn’t just a community where I coach – we all give to each other.
Sometimes we’ve run parkrun together, which has helped motivate me to keep running and realise that I’m still me – a coach, a runner and a mum. I feel connected and have a sense of belonging.
Do you feel part of the wider running community?
I felt quite out of it when I first became a mum and sometimes it’s been really difficult to attend run clubs or go swimming, and so on, as my husband works long hours. This makes joining a running club hard. As an in-person and online running community, the Run Higher Collective has helped me stay connected virtually, which has been amazing. But I’ve also run with local clubs near my new house – Crystal Palace Fun runners and Clapham Chasers.
Having the Run Higher Collective has been important as the members there are friends – more than just acquaintances I run with. After birth I suffered with anxiety and being able to share that with the other founders was key. It has also become a safe space for us to discuss mental health issues. We all look after each other even if we don’t see each other.
Why should people take up running?
For me, running has been amazing for my sense of belonging, my mental health, making friends and blowing off steam. It has boosted my confidence, introduced me to different people and helped me as a mum have me time.
Daring myself to join a club when I first started, going to a track, doing an event, running a bit longer and a bit faster, coming back to running after birth and learning all over again involve overcoming fears.
I love running most for the opportunity it gives me to get outside my comfort zone and do hard things – that builds resilience and creates a peaceful space in one’s mind.
Have you run The Big Half previously?
I have during marathon training in 2017 – it was great and I managed to stay with my goal pacer the whole way until the last few kilometres when I took off. It will be interesting to see how I do this year and to just enjoy running with others and try not to compare!
Why do you think people should get involved in The Big Half?
It’s a great community event. Even if I just went by myself, I would see lots of runners I know – all doing our thing, stepping into the unknown and celebrating all things running. I think it’s great as it takes in key parts of London and has entertainment and great views along the way.
What does We Run As One mean to you?
I feel community is more important than ever. We all experienced loneliness during lockdown and missed running with each other, even if it was in silence.
That togetherness is something primal that brings us back to our human roots. We are animals who are meant to be together, work as a team, live in communities and run together. I think The Big Half marks the importance of running together, as one, for the love of running.
What are you most looking forward to about The Big Half this year?
Running with others.
Photo credit: Liviu Enache