I am long overdue posting a new blog post and of course I have lots to talk about, that hasn’t been the problem, I just haven’t had time. My usual time to write a blog post or at least post one is at the weekend however my last 3 weekends have included trips to Edinburgh, Manchester and back home to Northern Ireland. I managed to squeeze a run in on 2 out of 3 weekends – Manchester got the better of me unfortunately! In Edinburgh, I did a few laps of Inverleith park (see photos below), which was freezing but lovely with families out for walks and sports teams out practising. At home, I dragged my brother along to Portrush Parkrun where it was also freezing and although a beautiful part of the world, it was not lovely that morning. It was my brother’s first Park run (he would not let me tell people that on the day) and we battled against the bitter wind and incoming tide to get through the funnel in just under 30 minutes – if you were there you would understand the struggle. There were no PBs achieved by any of the runners that day.
Now I’m back in Exeter having had 3 wonderful weekends of seeing friends and family and therefore feeling quite content. It has also made me think about how I love going to both new and old places for a run. There are some routes that really stick in my memory and I love going back to them such as:
– the forest near me at home – the hills there are a killer and I used to hate the place but when I first completed the 7km loop without stopping I felt invincible!
– My go-to run around St Andrews lead me along both East Sands where I could see the pier, the castle ruins and the beautiful West Sands. I also remember running out of the town towards Guardbridge, which always felt like a huge achievement.
– 12 mile route from my house to the coast – This also stands out because of the achievement factor but I do remember it hurting although this was quickly forgotten about once I got picked up at the other end and had an ice lolly (it was roasting that day and I ended up getting tan lines on my legs because I had been outside for so long)
There are so many more, the list is endless. It doesn’t help that I have a good memory and could probably tell you the songs I listened to on those runs, the top I was wearing or what else I bought in the shop after those 12 miles.
I sometimes think back to my favourite places when out running now and picture myself being at certain points along the route, which I think does help me sometimes. It brings back a nice feeling of nostalgia and before I know it I have another mile completed and the whole time I’ve just been thinking about the food I used to eat or people I used to know in a certain place.
I think running keeps you connected to places and can definitely provide a sense of belonging. You really get to know a town when you’re running up and down streets trying to get last quarter of a mile done. You also start to notice other things that regularly happen around you like the same people out for a walk at the same time as you starting your Sunday long run each week. It can make the town/city you live in feel a bit smaller or at least improves your spatial awareness. I have friends that haven’t ventured to areas that I regularly run through and I don’t understand because I think of it as being on my doorstep (“It’s 2 miles to Aldi?!” “That’s not even 20 minutes away, come on let’s go!”).
It is quite funny to think that probably, at some point in my life, I will be looking back at the days when I would run along the Exe Estuary and get the train back from Exmouth, or cycle to Killerton for a muddy Park run. I should enjoy the opportunities that the South West brings me while I can and of course it has better weather than anywhere mentioned above!