I’ve always felt guilty that I’m not a social runner – but at least going solo is perfect for escaping Covid-19
FUCK SELF-ISOLATION: that was the unspoken message in the air around London’s open spaces yesterday.
I ran through three parks as I knocked out my Sunday 10-miler, and it looked like everyone in the city was outside with me, despite the Coronavirus.
Given some half decent weather for once, Londoners were seizing the chance to stretch their legs, and for some space and fresh air.
Kids, Mums, Dads, old folks, lovers and dogs – they were all out – along with runners. Dozens and dozens of runners.
It even felt a bit Blitz-Spirit-y, being out there mingling in the face of Covid-19.
‘Bring it on!’ said the dog walker, bending to bag a turd”
Bring it on! Said the business-as-usual body language of the dog walker bending to bag a freshly minted turd. London Can Take It! said every Dad standing his ground quietly against a toddler baying for ice cream.
But in the midst of all these heroes was a coward – and that coward was me.
Because, as I dodged and weaved through the throng – woolly gloves on despite the sunshine and maintaining a safe two metres at all times – I wasn’t being brave.
I hate always having to run, but it’s the only thing that turns my mood round
AS YOU MAY have gathered by now, I love running. But, sometimes, I hate having to do it quite as much as I do.
I’d like to be Less Is More and only run when conditions are truly agreeable. I’m thinking: azure skies, green fields, little pink candyfloss clouds and white bunny wabbits cheering as, serenely, I float past.
But lemons, lemonade: some days you have to settle for running through grey South London in the snow…
I really didn’t want to go out yesterday morning. It was just a notch or two above zero, with the winds whipping big wet snowflakes down at a rakish angle and pregnant puddles everywhere I might want to plant a foot.
I had an upset stomach, limbs still stiff from 13 miles at the weekend, and I’d necked an inevitable beer or three the night before – all of which made me feel far from the acme of mature athleticism I like to pretend I am.
I knew it would be unpleasant, going out, but I needed to change the old brain chemistry after a setback in my job search. I kept telling myself it was only a small setback, but they tend to look much bigger when you’re 50-something and haven’t worked for year.