Monday 11 September 2017


“I run because if I didn’t, I’d be sluggish and glum and spend too much time on the couch. I run to breathe the fresh air. I run to explore. I run to escape the ordinary. I run to savour the trip along the way. Life becomes a little more vibrant, a little more intense. I like that.”

Dean Karnazes

I did the Langham 10K at the weekend and I didn't enjoy it at all at the time. Apart from finishing.

This got me thinking about why we do things. Why I do things. Why is always the most interesting question. In almost anything, "how" is easily explained, "why" is much more difficult.

Why do I run ? Well, it isn't "to get fit". I can't stick at anything I don't enjoy. I do it because I like it for itself. Getting fit is just a bonus.

The day to day running I do is off road, along footpaths, trails, woods and marshes. Even when I'm training ( oh yes, just like Mo Farah ) for a race I don't time my runs. I just run according to how I feel, sometimes a hard session and sometimes I'll stop and admire the view or have a chat. Sometimes the run never gets past a walk.

When you play football, cricket, tennis and any number of sports you can reasonably expect to win, at least some of the time. When you enter a race of 900 as I did yesterday and you're fifty three years old, you ain't ever going to win. On the one hand running, completing and hopefully improving your times builds your confidence and on the other the fact that you'll never win keeps you humble. I like that.

Yesterday I arrived early, to pick up my number and register. I mingled with the other runners and took in the atmosphere. Five minutes from the start we were told to approach start line and I pushed through to a position when I wouldn't be in the way of faster runners and others wouldn't be in my way. Then we were off, the most dangerous time when in a big group, it's so easy to be tripped up.

After a few minutes I was struggling to keep up a decent pace whilst relaxing and breathing properly. Normally this sorts itself out, but yesterday was uncomfortable from the start, I felt I was off the pace and struggling. As we passed the the half way mark I asked a bloke what the time was and surprisingly we were at a pace that if continued, would enable me to beat my previous best time. That's why I was struggling.

Good opportunity though, if I could keep it up. It was bloody uncomfortable, I wasn't enjoying it. I was willing the markers indicating each passing kilometre to appear. 6 km.....what feels like ages later where is 7 km, we must have past it ? A few minutes later 8 km appears. 

2 km to go. Keep going, it'll be over in under ten minutes. 9 km, almost there, I'm feeling shite and slowing down, or that's how it feels. I turn into the straight towards the finish and see the digital clock,  which is telling me it's my quickest time yet. I cross the finish line, thank fuck it's over.

After I get my breath back, I walk over and get a cup of tea and a bit of cake and watch the other runners coming in. What did I say about not being enjoyable today ? It is, but only in retrospect.

It doesn't matter what the actual time is or whether it's a good or bad time. It's the fastest I've done it and I'm getting quicker ( sometimes ) as I age. A small victory. Chasing away the decline that time will inevitably deliver. But not today.


  1. ES, Pain and more pain but I know what you mean about running where you want to run. Before the new knees, when we lived in in Sandhurst, it was woods and heathland. Bloody lovely.

    Got the all-clear from the Senior Orthopaedic Consultant yesterday. I had a pint on the way home. It tasted wonderful.


  2. That's great news at last John. About time. Almost time to get out the pike rods again.

  3. The beer shall mightily flow. Might be passing Friday afternoon if you are in. If not I'll leave you a bottle on the doorstep anyway.

  4. TT that is. Yours can wait till Rutland Wak.

  5. Taking the two Terriers to the vet for 2.50, back by 16.00. John