Leonard’s gone!

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Photo courtesy of John Wilderspin

New arch rival at Cambridge parkrun! Unusually, I’m running and smiling as we we approach the finish line and we come in within a second of each other. Cambridge has the good fortune to have a consistent photographer in John Wilderspin (for example, this week he’s put up 400+ images). There’s something confirming about a personal running picture even if it’s not flattering. There’s always the next one!

Running’s not very complicated at the moment. I’m tending to go for short 2 mile runs 3-4 times a week and 5k parkrun on Saturdays. Unfortunately, I’m not finding last year’s form at all but on the plus side I have the pleasant delusion that I am faster than ever. There’s a satisfying feeling of speed despite my stupid watch telling a different story. Possibly I’m running so fast, I’ve gone back in time. I know Superman can reverse time by flying around the Earth multiple times faster than the speed of light (I stand to be corrected on this with reference to the specific DC Superman comic). But then again, I know in my heart of hearts, being given a parkrun token with place number 172  emblazoned on the plastic coating is not compatible with magical running powers.

Talking of magic, I read a very enjoyable review of Elf Queens and Holy Friars :Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church by Richard Firth Green, £36. (London Review of Books : don’t worry, non London people, you too can have access to this literary mag). Widespread belief in fairies and mythical creatures meant they were given responsibility for all manner of unfortunate occurrences and circumstances and their influence waned slowly as society became more rational. Even today many people still believe in evil fairies and a malevalent Fairyland, chiefly UKIP voters and Daily Mail Readers.

Leonard Cohen’s death is a very sad event. He’s been a cultural and emotional part ofmy life since I was a teenager in the 1960s, listening to his first album in our 6th form common room. Drone, drone, drone. Powerful songs expressing adolescent feelings and a wonderful backdrop to growing up, reading Krisharmerti, Kafka, Hesse, Mervyn Peake, Oz, the International Times, walking the streets of London and seeing the best bands in London.

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Autumnal running and America on the brink

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Photo courtesy of John Wilderspin

Cambridge parkrun on November 5th. Chilly so I wore two running tops and tracksters. The following day I ran the  Bonfire Burn 10k at Histon. Four years ago this race took place in the worst weather I had ever run in. It was very cold, raining and windy. The race was delayed and I was underdressed. I couldn’t get comfortably warm until two thirds of the race was completed and I seriously considered abandoning it half way through. So yesterday, with rain forecast and low temperatures, I took no chances. Two running tops and a heavy duty cycling jacket, super efficient gloves, tracksters and a hat in a sidepocket just in case. Toasty warm before I started, I marvelled at the large numbers of men in shorts and singlets shiveringing the wind. Of course the sun came out immediately, the wind died down, the temperature went up and no rain materialised. It proved to be a lovely day for running in the Autumn sun in shorts and short sleeved top! No matter, I don’t mind running hot, either in winter or summer and the Bonfire Burn weather is always hard to predict. Better hot than cold!

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Post run amble to Milton Country Park cafe for coffee. Nicely coordinated with our colours, aren’t we. This is no coincidence, of course. We spend an hour before parkrun frantically Skyping until we get it just right and everyone is in agreement with our kit. It’s not easy being a runner!

OMG! It’s the horror of the American election. Please let sanity prevail. The spectacle of millions of Americans voting for a not so thinly disguised fascist who openly insults, abuses, belittles or intimidates those opposed to his beliefs or approach is truly disturbing. Trump’s politics demonstrate, not so much that you can fool most of the people most of the time but rather by demonising groups or individuals and overtly pandering to the dispossessed and economically left behind, you can easily incite their capacity for cruelty, absolute self interest and collective denial. So, despite camera recorded appalling behaviour and views over a long period of time, Trump’s supporters continue to instance his ability to speak plainly, take on vested interests and make America great again. Tonight, in one of his last speeches, the billionaire Trump asserted he was the champion of the working classes. This reminded me of the Tories and their Labour speak out doing the Labour Party in their concern for the working man. Trump appeals to the credulous and those lacking empathy, who want to rise again at the expense of others. Please American voters, don’t let him become 45th President of the United States of America.