Flying People

A PHOTO PROJECT ABOUT RUNNERS

I started running in 2016, soon after I moved to Wrocław, Poland. I self-trained for my first half marathon, in the course of which I promised myself I'd never ever do that again, and two days after I crossed the finish line I bought a slot in the next half marathon. I decided to do a more proper job this time and worked with a trainer to get a better idea of how to run long distance and enjoy it. It's then I started wondering how other people felt about running, why they decided to do that, what background experience they had with this sport, and, most interesting of all, what kept them going.

I made a list of questions, found 14 participants who were willing to spill the beans and pose for me, took pictures of each of them, and... Two years passed. And here I am, finally publishing the whole thing. As in training for a long distance race, the key to actually completing a project is to go at your own pace, and do it the way that you enjoy the journey.

The name "Flying people" is there purely because this is the sense I get when I'm having a really good run. And because in some pictures my runners are indeed flying!

I am immensely grateful to all the participants who were brave enough to sign up for this and patient enough not to bombard me with 'when is the project gonna be published?' questions :) I'm also thankful to my wonderful trainer, Oleg Grigoriev (42run.ru), who was there for me throughout the next three half marathons I prepared for and successfully finished, and whose steady way of coaching was just what I needed the most to rely on when being on that journey. I'm bowing to my friend and fellow translator, Olena Shybaieva who was kind enough to do proofreading and final editing of my Polish-Russian  translation. I'm thankful to my Polish teachers, Anaida Velyan and Karolina Traczyk, they've helped me jumpstart my Polish. And I'm waving to the fearless polyglots and fellow Renaissance people of the Language Heroes project (lh12.ru), those superheroes do a great job of motivating other people to learn more languages :)

 

And, of course, I'm thankful to my family, friends and fellow runners for encouraging me to just do it and keep trying. I loved every second of working on this project and embracing all the challenges that came with it.

There's one more confession to make: it so happened that Poland became a home away from home, a place that I'm always happy to visit to see friends and give a warm 'hug' to my beloved Wrocław which is so dear now. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to master the Polish language to the point where I could effortlessly speak it and enjoy using it. Therefore, this project became a way to gather and appreciate everything I managed to achieve throughout the 2.5 years I lived in Poland, and also it's a love letter to the language and the people that I was so lucky to meet.

P.S.: in Poland (and maybe in some other countries as well) it's a kind of a custom to wave and smile at a fellow runner you meet while doing your training. I can't stress enough how empowering and uplifting this simple gesture is, especially when you're having a tough time getting through a particularly hard bit of training. I really wish this nice little tradition was popular in the U.K. Who knows, maybe one day it will be a thing here? 

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@2020 Anna Shilonosova