As we emerge from lockdown, many people’s priorities have changed. Here a reader tells us how they’ve recalibrated their wellbeing.

Katie Thomas, 48, from Oxfordshire, wanted to run the 2020 London Marathon in memory of her dad. When the event was cancelled in lockdown, Katie found a way to honour his memory and find joy in difficult times…

When it was announced that the London Marathon was cancelled, I was so disappointed. I’d signed up to run in memory of my dad, Ceri, who died in 2018 with Alzheimer’s disease. I was running for Alzheimer’s Research UK ( and quickly decided to run my own marathon, running an equivalent route around my village.

My husband, Howard, 49, and our sons William, 15, and Charlie, 12, cheered me on and the boys made cardboard models of London landmarks, including a Big Ben box Charlie wore over his head. It was such a wonderful experience that I also ran the virtual London Marathon last October in Oxford, raising more than £10,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK in total.

How I started to love running

I never particularly enjoyed running before, but now I love it. Before the pandemic, I was so busy. I always had to be somewhere or I was thinking about where I was supposed to be next. I could never catch up with myself.

Lockdown changed the pace of my life for the better and running gave me fresh air, sunshine and time in nature.

Now I’m not in training, if I see a beautiful flower, I stop to take a photo. I run for joy. I also continue to run because I love being part of the running community. While we couldn’t run in groups during lockdown, the Alzheimer’s Research UK marathon runners Facebook group was great. I’ve made friends and feel part of something special.

I’ve learned what makes me feel peaceful

Something wonderful happened in my home during lockdown, too. Howard was no longer commuting to London, so we started enjoying family dinners and games.

We loved watching the sunset and it felt like we were figuring out what felt good. I feel guilty for enjoying lockdown when so many did not, but a period of unexpected, forced serenity and simplicity means that even as the world starts up again, I will keep hold of the things I now know make me feel calm and peaceful.

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