Aliveandrunning August 4 2014

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Cambridge Junior parkrun  last Sunday, a 2k run for children between the ages of4-14. This is the start and the girl on the left won it in a time of 7 minutes 36 seconds. A  fantastic run. 87 took part including some young ones running with their parents (who are not included in the numbers.

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These three walked the 2k, explaining they were a caterpillar and couldn’t be hurried.

I was a timer again (one of two). This is fairly straight forward when the numbers running aren’t high and the children aren’t hurling themselves en masse at the finish line. Cambridge adult parkrun (5k) regularly attracts nearly 400 so timing requires much concentration when they come in densely bunched up and overtaking in the finish tunnel before they receive their position tokens. I did it a couple of years ago, in winter, when only 186 ran. The temperature was low and I didn’t have gloves. My hands were numb with cold. Two fingers snapped off. I didn’t stoop to pick them up; I merely carried on recording the times, selfless as ever.

Saturday’s parkrun was OK. I ran 24 minutes dead (if only I had run a second faster, I would have dropped into the 23’s and my self esteem would have survived intact. Note to self: work on losing that highly significant second).

Yesterday, I dropped off my daughter Sophie at Cambridge Station, parked and went running in the City. Or rather I ran up and down Mill Road, the “bohemian” part of Cambridge before heading for the dark interior, sucking in tourists like a black hole. Mill Road is nearly a mile long and has many interesting independent shops. At the end furthest from town, a big, new mosque complex is going to be built on a derelict site. No work started yet.

As described before, it’s curiously satisfying weaving in and out of the crowds in Cambridge. Although I’m not running fast in any sense of the word,  you feel oddly powerful and nimble negotiating the throng.They move so slowly and you have the impression of  occupying a different time frame.  I seemed  to cover a lot of distance because Cambridge is a small city. I ran around 5 miles before returning to the car, leaving many dozens of people in my wake gasping with the excitement at having witnessed a local running god (albeit in low gear).

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Oh happy days! I found fresh Brussels sprouts in Tesco today. Where were they grown? Don’t know. Probably Tasmania and clocking up about 200,000 air miles. But never mind, they were delicious and on a par with raspberries. Yummy.

The Guardian reports today on loss of provision and funding crises experienced by Women’s Refuge Centres. http://bit.ly/UOw4Z3 The ability to blithely cut, or cut out, these type of essential services, in the name of austerity savings demonstrates what a bunch of shits local and national politicians are. If the public gaze is currently far away from domestic violence, then politically it’s worth taking the risk to cut funding along with other important, humanitarian services which have a low public profile. These politicians have a passion. A passion for putting the boot into small groups  of vulnerable people who have negligible voting power.

 

 

 

 

 

Aliveandrunning July 27 2014

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Aliveandrunning July 13 2014

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Brighton, Sussex. This pic was taken as the sun went down. The light was fading and people were becoming silhouettes. The beach had a dreamy and languid feel which gave the remnant of the the destroyed West Pier a romantic aspect. We were in Brighton for my daughter’s graduation and to collect belongings  from her accommodation. This went well, despite the poor weather, although very emotional for her.

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The bonus to our little trip to the South coast was being able to take part in Brighton parkrun (Preston Park) on Saturday morning. Unlike Cambridge parkrun which is along narrow woodland paths, the Brighton course is on tarmac paths on open park grass land, with 3 loops. Very enjoyable.

I arrived alone and maintained a cool insouciance throughout. They knew I was an unknown quantity, a stylish outsider that possibly had what it took to blow the local running talent to smithereens. I took my place on the front line and saw the fear in their eyes. Two of the young bucks had the temerity to look me directly. I faced them down with my steely alpha male stare, forcing them to lower their gaze in submission. A quick gesture by swivelling my eyes indicated they should move back to the secondary line behind me. They complied, ashen faced and shaken. I went off like a rocket and remained well ahead of everyone for an easy 20 metres before running out of steam and eventually coming in 96th out of 244. Oh well, you’ve gotta aim for the stars!

 

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Today was the inaugural Cambridge junior parkrun, a 2 kilometre run for children aged 4-14. It was very successful with 97 children ( plus some accompanying parents) taking part. It didn’t rain during the race but there were plenty of puddles to run through and the children clearly loved the whole thing. It took 25+ volunteers to stage it and the plan is to run it (pun intended) weekly which is quite an undertaking for the event and race directors who are, of course, volunteers. An added difficulty today was the Alzheimer’s 10k and 5k sponsored walk through the park which was scheduled to start at the same time as the juniors set off (at 10am). There were 500 of them! It got sorted. We delayed our start time by 15 minutes and this didn’t result in any problems. It’s wonderful to see the joy on the faces of the youngest children as they put everything they’ve got into running. I’m sure  it will continue to be very successful.

If the Daily Mail was to cease publication overnight, the mental health and well being of the nation would increase significantly with immediate effect. It’s raison d’etre is to cause maximum angst and existential stress in it’s readers who can’t get enough of its dystopian outlook. And that’s putting it politely.

The Sunday Express headlines? The Queen is worried about the possibility that the Red Arrows team  (acrobatic aviation jets) will be disbanded. Our Queen must not experience this kind of perturbation. Mr Cameron, please allocate an increase in funding to safeguard these brave flyers and prevent our monarch from suffering continuing mental unease. After all, there’s plenty of money sloshing around in the mental health services budget and they can’t shout very loud. And libraries, too, when I come to think about it.

 

 

Aliveandrunning June 29 2014 Juneathon Day 29

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I really had no idea that Rupert was an avid Brazil fan. Or was capable of hiding behind his paws during the penalty shootout yesterday. Or drank lager. Clearly he’s very much into World Cup football. He even ordered a hot dog to eat at half time! I heard him whisper to Isobelle  that Suarez’s bite is worse than his bark.Normally he has no interest in TV (apart from watching a certain Disney film) and as for supporting Andy Murray at Wimbledon, forget it.

I have only ever taken Rupert running on two occasions and today was the third. Running with Rupert is a mixed blessing. He is a highly skilled wee and poo merchant. He can’t trot more than  100 metres without stopping either to pee half a pint or leave a marker. He’s also a three poo a day dog. I suppose I have to count myself lucky I only had to pick up one. He’s got no road sense, randomly changes from left to right side and vice versa and is constantly on the lookout for something discarded to eat. Nevertheless, I enjoyed running with him. We ran around 9.5k which was enough for us both.

Today was the trial run for Cambridge junior parkrun and it went off with flying colours. Unless you are actively involved in the nuts and bolts of parkrun, it’s difficult to appreciate the time, effort and worry that goes into making it happen safely and successfully. 52 children participated, along with many parents and 25 volunteers. The inaugural run will take place in a fortnight and at least 100 children are expected to take part.

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This young girl smiled and giggled her way around the 2k course. Not surprising, really, since she is a veteran of the adult parkrun. Her father has whizzed her along in an off road buggy since she was a baby! She was accompanied by her dad and pictured here with  tail runner Julie.

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Finally, the first girl to the line and the first and second boy. A very enjoyable and uplifting morning. The weather just held until everything was packed away and everyone went home. The weather has been pants, as they say, for the last 2 days. But hold on while I place my gardening hat on my cranium. Wow, I just love this weather. I can hear the garden squeaking with delight at the amount of rain that’s fallen, helta skelta, out of a leaden sky. Thank you, rain gods.