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Blog Tynemouth Longsands

I’ve still kept needing that Buddhist mantra; "Pain is optional, suffering is inevitable”. A hot Park Run where my breath seemed to forget that simple going in and out manoeuvre we’ve been doing okay with all these years. An eight mile run that stretched my sinews to their limits, but allowed a huge endorphin hit at the end. I went from outside Tynemouth Priory to nearly the path down to St Mary's Lighthouse. Significant because that’s where I got married last year. In two or three Long Runs’ time I’ll be able to jog from home to marriage place and back under my own steam. Seems a good symbol of something, not sure what. However, I’d still been thinking about how it’s not good to ignore pain signals from your own body. Growing up I was rubbish at taking notice of what my body was telling me and was far too good at dissociating and cutting off from it. It suddenly clicked, mid-run, that that’s not what the mantra is asking you to do. It’s saying, be aware of your body, but know that that isn’t the whole story. Or, be aware of it, but not enslaved to every nuance; not all pain is a signal to stop immediately. Maybe. Anyway, the resulting poem says something I need to hear I think.

Tynemouth Longsands

Running, blurred

against the relentless motion

of sea and sky.

Something shifts; up and out,

in and down.


Not you being frightened

into flying like a moth

above your own head,


or banished like a spider

to scuttle beneath your feet,

lonely and relieved

as a devolved nation.


Not the electricity

generated by the pulse of your knees,

your aching shins


the radio waves from your ragged breathing,

the whooshing in your ears.


Not you leaving one arm

in the cardigan of you, but


realising you are

your own wi- fi router,

a self made of signals


and breathing yourself in

like a message in the air.


Kate Fox is a poet, writer and broadcaster. She was Poet in Residence for the Great North Run in 2011, and is working on a new show for families for the 2012 Great North Run Culture programme called The Starting Line.
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