Don’t walk.

I’ve run on and off since I finished high-school in a vain attempt to manage my weight.

I never liked it much.

I remember going through a period of waking up before dawn and running by Hampstead Heath when I was living on Finchley Road and around Tompkins Square Park when I was living in Manhattan, loathing every minute of it, desperate for macaroni and pizza and ice-cream in order to compensate for the torture. These early morning stints never lasted long.

I started running properly when my Dad was a few months shy of dying of cancer. The distances I undertook slowly lengthened. Often I ran when I wanted to cry or scream and it helped me cope with the grief.

I was in Brooklyn then and had a friend who was training for the New York Marathon, she invited me to run this 4 mile race with her. I’d never run that far before but it felt possible.

I think I ran it in converse trainers.

I didn’t even own a sports bra at the time.

It was held in Central Park and there were a huge number of supporters all cheering and handing out cups of water and when it was over they gave me a medal. As I turned to run around a corner at the north end of the park I remember hearing someone shout, “YOU ARE THE STRONGEST WOMEN IN NEW YORK.”

This was four years ago. These days I run between 5 and 10k three or four times a week. I cannot imagine a life without it. It’s done something to me.

I worry sometimes that it’s given me a false notion that I’m a little invincible.

In 2010, I planned a surprise party for an ex-boyfriend on a Friday evening, drank and smoked heavily until midnight. On Saturday I got on a flight to New York that arrived at midnight New York time and then ran the New York Half Marathon at 7am Sunday.

My teenage self would not recognise me.

3 thoughts on “Don’t walk.

  1. This is great. It makes me think of Murakami's future headstone: "At least he never walked."It would be brilliant if people yelled out things like that guy in New York just on a daily basis, when you were walking around, on the way to work etc..I've run long distances for similar reasons, never liking it that much but having small flashes of intense enjoyment that kind of made it worth it. But in the last year I've been plagued by injuries and have had to give up and I find myself really missing it. Nothing else matches running for pure catharsis, I reckon.

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