Thinking About Running


“I would notice your haircut,” says our friend, “but I knew already. If you will go splashing it around on the Internet….”

Ahh. He’s been reading the blog, then.

Then the boot goes in. “Have you been for that run yet?”

Ah the run, I say. Don’t ask about the run. Of course I havent been for the bloody run.

I fucking hate running. Didn’t I mention that? I have spent years of my life feeling contemptuous of those beginner runners you see bouncing awkardly up and down with bright red faces, a few notches slower than my normal walking pace. Running is something these people do to loose weight or to prove themselves, not for the joy of it. Or at least, not from the looks on their faces. It’s hard work: there’s no freedom about it. Give me hillwalking any day.

Worse, running is – and picture me biting my thumb and spitting over my shoulder before I say this – running is fashionable at the moment. I’m sure you know at least one person training for a marathon for some splendid cause or other. Usually it’s the sort of inspiring person who says: ‘The coffee machine will be fixed soon’ when they mean ‘the bloody thing still doesn’t work’.

And post-baby running feels like such a cliche. Popped a sprog?  Want to show the world you’ve ‘bounced back?’  Well why not do a 5k? Or a 10K? Ideally for a girly charity who provide the bright pink tops and put your photograph on Facebook for all the world to ‘Like.’

I’m not really knocking this: it must make a massive difference to the runners and to Breast Cancer Research. If you’ve been a runner I might have ‘liked’ and possibly even sponsored you; indeed I’d have been impressed: you have run further than I’ve ever managed to run in my life.

But for me…? I’m a hardcore hill-walker, which makes me a little bit stuck up, you see.  I dont want to do a pre-organised challenge the same as a few hundred similarly dressed people on a special day at the park. I’d like to go somewhere that I can loose myself, become a little figure on the horizon, feel free. If I do an organised sponsored run to impress people (and now that I have lost my mum and have cancer research to raise money for, I might) it would have to be something impressive to outdoor types, like a Bob Graham Round ( ….  and actually I have been dreaming about a Bob Graham round, ever since an old guy in a bunkhouse over the summer took one look at me, noticed I was female with a baby (he knew nothing else about me, nothing at all) and told me he doubted I could manage one.

But back to Earth: as it happens, he was right. Bob Graham is safe. Before I can run up and down the major peaks in the Lake District, even before I can tackle mild slopes, I have to be able to run to the park. I have to bob up and down, red-faced and awkward, offending other people, offending other people’s dogs and knowing that I can walk faster than this. I have to sweat and be uncomfortable and embarrassed and keep running when I get out of breath. I’m sure there will be joy in it when I can run over fells and ridges (just like with walking, only hopefully I’ll be back in time to spend time with the kids) but I have to run a lot before then.

As for now, I fucking hate running.   And if by swearing you think that I am showing a lack of imagination, you are wrong. I thought about just plain hating running. I thought about absolutely hating running. Hating running very much indeed; despising running indubitably, verily. Abhoring running, abominating, execrating the activity. And I only used a thesaurus for one of those. But no. That’s just not how I feel. I fucking hate running, okay?


One thought on “Thinking About Running

  1. Emma says:

    Ah, the strange snobbery of the seasoned hillwalker, believing that a challenge organised by others (and in sight of a main road!) is no such thing or that a package holiday cannot possibly be an adventure. So familiar!
    Doing some catchup reading of the blog today – still excellent stuff. Hope you’re getting some time this weekend to do the things you want to do, whatever they happen to be.

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