In this video, athletic brand Cyprus Another Angle interviews Thalia Charalambous, a professional long-distance runner of Cypriot origin, who moved to the island from her native South Africa a year ago.
In 2020, she competed in the women’s half marathon at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships held in Gdynia, Poland, where she broke the Cypriot national record.
But while Charalambous has always enjoyed running – while at school she was a sprinter – it was only in her twenties that she began to get serious about the long-distance form of the sport. Joining a local running club in South Africa, she started off with the “walk-run” approach until she built up her mileage.
In the process, she fell in love with long-distance running, and is swift to point out its many pluses, from bestowing flexibility and overall health, to its ease of practice.
“There are definitely a lot of physical benefits from running: just keeping healthy, maintaining your body weight, losing weight,” she says. “It also helps keep your muscles strong and your bones strong, and it increases your lung capacity.”
It’s also an activity that leaves participants flooded with the feel-good endorphin hormones, she adds, so it can be valuable for boosting mental health and combating depression, too.
“If you know what you’re doing, running is a danger-free sport,” continues Charalambous. “What people need to realise is that they can’t just run every day.
“First of all, they need to start a ‘run-walk’ approach, and then, every other day, they should do another activity – whether it’s swimming, going to the gym, lifting weights or riding a bike.
“What will definitely help is running on soft surfaces – I wouldn’t suggest going straight onto the road – like well-manicured grass or even just along the beach. I would suggest starting on that, and then, maybe every once a week, doing a hard surface, such as the road.”
Beyond that, a healthy diet and good shoes, are a must. And when it comes to children taking up running, mobility drills and overall flexibility and strength will be a must to help them ease into the sport, safely.
As far as running communities are concerned, local clubs such as the Paphos Running Club and Dromea Racing Running Club allow fellow enthusiasts to mingle and participate in meets, and the island itself has many diverse running environments to try out and enjoy.
Ultimately, the beginning phase in anything is always going to be a challenge, she notes, but being inspired by others who have done something before us, and persevering, will help us adopt and enjoy any new challenge – and running is definitely one worthy of undertaking.
If this has piqued your interest in, or re-inspired you about taking up running, consider also checking out the following local podcasts:
For local, running-related Instagram profiles to follow, check out the text below the original video on the Cyprus Another Angle YouTube channel here.
And to keep up with all the inspiring athletic happenings across the island, follow Cyprus Another Angle:
On Instagram: www.instagram.com/cyprus.another.angle/
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/cyprus.another.angle
On YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChj1VvYKez6V0per-Zhty5w?pbjreload=102
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