I have not a lot to say about this week’s race as it was pretty much exactly the same as the last month’s. It was significantly hotter, but also significantly less mudder so I am hoping those two factors cancelled each other out and my time (40:11, exactly a minute faster than last month) represents a genuine one minute improvement. I guess we’ll see when I next do a tarmac route on a cool day.
I’m devoting the rest of this post to some great photos taken during, before and after the race and some thoughts on a conversation I had with another runner about why we took up running. Like a lot of people I took up running as a weight loss device (it didn’t work) and really got into it properly after a hellish break up as a sanity maintenance device (this did work). Running was something I did on my own, my own piece of sanctity and space to breathe, knowing I was away from everyone and that no one could even contact me. I certainly didn’t take up running to make friends. Why would I want to do that? I already had friends!
The thing is, though, that my old friends are people I have known for twenty years or more. They are wonderful people but actually when it comes to meeting up they are all extremely flakey and unreliable. I guess our lives have gone in different directions, and they have home lives and children etc to maintain. But sometimes I felt a bit isolated, and like all my friends lived in my computer. I missed the old days when I could just walk into my favourite nightclub every week and know that I’d have a load of friends there. There wouldn’t be the stress of organising it or the disappointment of last minute cancellations, it was just easy and effortless. And that is what running events are like for me now – I can turn up to RunThrough or parkrun or pretty much any race and see a bunch of friendly faces and have loads to chat about. And even though I haven’t known any of these people more than a year, I am starting to count them as Real Life Friends. And that is a very nice and unexpected side effect of running, and far more valuable than losing a few kilograms.