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How Running Helped This Young Mum Find Her Identity Again

“Running has just given me another way to discover more about myself and push the boundaries of what people expect of me,” says Jordan Adair, member of Snappy Runners, a running community based out of Ancoats in Manchester. “If you saw me walking down the street, I have tattoos and I’m very loud — but I also knit. I’m on my 576th streak day of my language app. I go to bed at 8 p.m. I like breaking those stereotypes.”
Last year, New Balance launched its global ‘Run Your Way’ campaign, which invites us to let go of any expectations or doubts we may have about running. A young mother and relatively new runner, Adair encapsulates the campaign’s core ethos as someone who feels empowered in her own individuality and unique journey, whilst defying expectations of what a runner should “be” like.
Adair grew up on a council estate, at some points living in a homeless shelter and a women’s refuge. “Having a degree, owning my own house, doing my masters — my life has not taken the trajectory of maybe what it should have. Everyone around you might say that there’s not much out there for you, but I like not fitting people’s expectations of what they would assume about me.”

“I’m quite an over-thinker... But with running, I felt my head go clear. There was just silence and I thought, Well, actually this kind of feels exhilarating.”

The 33-year-old was initially encouraged to run by her husband after having their first child. She had been breastfeeding for 17 months for periods of at least 18 hours a day when she started to get what she describes as creeping feelings of “who-am-I-when-I’m-not-a-mum kind of crisis.” At that point, she hadn’t been for a run in about 10 years, admitting that she dislikes being sweaty and has asthma. But once she gave it a go, she was instantly hooked. “Actually, I felt a bit embarrassed because [my husband] ran a half marathon with our daughter in a pram and she got a medal and I thought, I can’t be the only person in this house without a medal,” she laughs.
From the day of her very first run with Snappy Runners, Adair went on to run every day for 30 consecutive days. “I feel like I’m quite an over-thinker anyway, and then especially becoming a mum, my mind is just constant thoughts,” she says. “But with running, I felt my head go clear. There was just silence and I thought, Well, actually this kind of feels exhilarating.
Many of Adair’s motivations around running came from giving birth to her daughter Avery and feeling a renewed connection with her body. “I think having a baby made me feel like I was invincible,” she says. “Afterwards, I just had such a different outlook on my body and I started to be kinder to myself. I just thought, okay, on some days your skin’s not the clearest, or your hair might flick out the way you don’t want it to. But realistically, the things that my body has done are pretty incredible. And with running, I found myself fully loving it and embracing it, and just being so appreciative of my body.”
Adair feels emotional when talking about how running has also become an integral way for her to show up as a role model for her daughter. “Even at times when I just really don’t fancy doing something, she needs to know that consistency and applying herself is important in achieving things, even if it’s just running for herself or whatever she chooses to do — play the piano, karate or whatever,” she admits. “Representation is so important. The more things I do and show her that I can achieve, I feel like it only sets her up to be a successful person, no matter what she chooses to do.”

I love that nothing bad is going to happen if you just go out there and run. But the positives you get from it are beyond anything that I would have imagined.

Running the Manchester Half Marathon last year has been the most challenging point of Adair’s running journey so far as a result of a swollen knee, and feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome on the day — but she says that the feeling of crossing the finishing line was unparalleled.
“I used to have this quote on the wall, where the very first part of it is ‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, our greatest fear is that we’re powerful beyond measure,’” she says. “It’s the one thing I’ve said to myself the most throughout my whole life. I felt like I was going to fail during that run… And I didn’t, so then I thought, if I can do that, maybe I can do a marathon. I think that the consistency of just running in general really helps my health and my mental wellbeing. It allows me to understand that those things are just self-doubt and it’s not real because my body is actually doing it.”
Coming up, Adair has the 2024 TCS London Marathon in April, and then she has her sights set on the Copenhagen Marathon. If she were to give new or hesitant runners any advice it would be: “To get out of their heads. Just put on a pair of running trainers and give it a go. I love that nothing bad is going to happen if you just go out there and run. But the positives and the benefits that you get from it are beyond anything that I would have imagined in the first place.”
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