To my shock, I ran ten miles. To my greater shock, for seven miles of it, I felt like I could carry on forever.
I first started my training in April, I knew I was inching closer to St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay from where I live in Tynemouth. I kept
seeing it before I turned back round, rising white and tall, often from a
sea haze. "I’ll run there by September” I resolved. Well, I did it. The
reason it was special was because I got married there last May. It was a
heck of a difficult journey to be able to meet and recognise a nice man
and commit to him- now my body has made that journey the hard way too! I
thought I might not, as I’d had some panic runs the fortnight before,
overdone it by trying to suddenly go faster than my body’s (slow) pace
and got very wheezy. I was kind to myself, pulled back for a few days,
and must have pulled the energy back to do the ten.
Two women I’ve been chatting to about their training were both on the
verge of not being kind to themselves, and, much as I’m obviously not
an expert, I was able to jump in and urge them both not to overdo it. I
imagine it’s a common error in us beginner runners. My friend said her
trainer used to say to her "Always do less than you want to do”. It’s
counter-instinctive- but I bet it prevents alot of injuries!
My, probably penultimate, blog poem was inspired by the Great North
Run exhibition at South Shields Museum. Lots of memorabilia from the 30
years of the event. The one that most caught my eye was the
correspondence in which Brendan Foster asked for permission to hold "a
If, however you decide...*
*Last line of discouraging reply from the Northumbria Chief
Constable to Brendan Foster’s letter asking permission to close roads
for the first Great North Run in 1981
If, however you decide,
old ladies will blast Chariots of Fire
from their windows
Armies will be instructed,
calendars will be constructed,
it will grow and grow.
Men and women in iron chariots
will break records
with bleeding hands.
Millions will make resolutions
for thirteen miles of road,
surprise themselves by South Shields sands.
Lives will be saved and ended here,
arteries unblocked, pathways unlocked,
our city spaces will never look the same,
we’ll see bodies move in the light of day,
that work can come from play,
crowds will choose their own frame.
They will become strange fruit and superheroes,
they will discover their best and beat it,
set an impossible goal and meet it.
Mountains of litter, laughter, money, prayers
will be unleashed, the timid hopes we daren’t voice,
you will contradict our worst fears.
We will carry on thinking as far as thirteen miles over the horizon,
as tall as a sixty six foot Angel,
as long as a bridge spanning a river for a thousand years.
As, so many of us running, I am going to be raising money. Mine is
going to the National Autistic Society who have helped me with research
for a show I’m writing about Autism, and the way that autistic traits
are more common in artists and scientists and the general population
than is generally thought. So, here’s a cheeky mention of my fundraising
page if you can spare a pen’worth or two for a poet: www.justgiving.com/kate-fox1.
Good luck you giant shadow army of runners getting last minute runs
in, and loading up on those carbs- and remember- be kind to yourselves!