I’m not that kind of outdoorsy person

400 metre runner Katharine Merry shares the reasons why she loves being outdoors.

3 minute read
400 metre runner Katharine Merry famously won Olympic bronze behind Cathy Freeman at the Sydney Games in 2000, before claiming the world record a year later.
Katharine Merry at OS headquarters
Katharine Merry at OS headquarters

Today, Katharine is a successful TV broadcaster who recently promoted OS’s National Map Reading Week as well as hosting OS’s annual Activity Day at the Headquarters in Southampton. In this blog, she shares the reasons why she loves being outdoors. 

Why do you like getting outside?

 “I like getting outside because you can’t beat it and I’m a big fresh air and natural light person. I think people were made to be outside. We spend so much time as people indoors and in enclosed environments – whether that’s working at our day job or being in our houses.

“Getting outside gives me a real sense of freedom and clears my mind – it doesn’t matter whether I am outside on my own or out with my family – I just love the fresh air. I think there is something very important for both the body and mind from the freedom it brings.

“For me, I find being outside more important for my mental health and my state of mind than the physical side because I am busy enough as it is from running around to all different places. To just go outside, there is something nice and refreshing about it.”

Do you have a favourite place outdoors that you like to go?

“I don’t mind travelling to go to parks. I’m not the kind of person who will stick myself at the bottom of Ben Nevis or walk across the Peaks up north. I’m not that kind of outdoorsy person. I like people, but less crowded places, so a nice, hidden and secluded park. Anything with a bit of green space is my thing, particularly as I’ve got small kids now and I need to be in a safe environment while they are running around. I also like to people watch!

What’s your ideal length of walk?

“The athlete in me likes to do it in miles, so I like two or three miles to cater for the kids. You don’t want to knacker them out or lose their attention. Sometimes we walk, sometimes we take a bike, other times it’s a scooter. Something is better than nothing I find. If I talk to my mates and they say ‘I haven’t got time to walk that’ I say ‘well you have, you just can’t be bothered!’ You could actually get up 20 or 30 minutes earlier but you just don’t want to! You don’t have to walk 10 miles, you don’t have to trek across these places. You can go just out and about and around the block. I’ve got my mother-in-law into a walking habit now. She’s only going around the block in Birmingham, but she feels better and more active for it. Getting out and doing any distance is better than nothing.”

Follow Katharine Merry on Instagram - @katharine.merry

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