foreboding and exhilaration and apocalypse and life.

  • Sunday, April 29, 2012
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Please do not adjust your set. I rise at 05:15am to run the Downs in heavy and unending rain. Jerry and I run wind lashed and rainswept on trails that are at times more like streams, the water flowing three to four inches deep. On some of the more sunken trails it is shin height. It is cold and even my waterproof Sealskinz socks eventually fail. And then there is the Mud. Mud and wind and horizontal rain stinging my face and blinding me. On occasions I stumble along the flowing chalky paths in thick mist, or as Jerry puts it, the base of the clouds. The vegetation is tall and dripping and grabs at us like desperate voiceless beggars as we pass. I don't spare them a glance, I am totally absorbed in our solitary odyssey through the alien landscape. The mission is everything. Strangely I have a sense and a memory of silence, the heaviness of the weather and the weight of the ground muting all sound. I know foreboding and exhilaration and apocalypse and life. It seems that all of nature is rupturing and breaking apart around us, the ground sliding beneath our feet. I have the knowledge that as I run that I will carry these things in the hot centre of my breast for days to come. We shall not speak of these things Jerry and I, when you've journeyed to another place through the ravaged landscape of your soul you must remain silent least others think you mad. They will never understand.

carpe viam

  • Sunday, April 15, 2012
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There is an intriguing sub group of runners worldwide known as the Dead Runners Society.
The name was drawn from the film, Dead Poets Society which made the Latin phrase carpe diem (seize the day) famous. The DRS has as it's motto carpe viam – seize the way/ roadway. Awesome.
These folk are like the Yoda's of the running world, full of wisdom and an aura of smoky mysticism.
The DRS was formed in Texas in 1991 and primarily revolved around computers and running. These were the days immediately before the big bang that formed the Internet. The early members were typified by computer pro's, researchers and academics. These days it is an online running club/ virtual community.
  • Members of the DS are known as Deads and the society has it's own flag (above) containing a smiley referring to computers and a star for the birthplace, Texas. Apart from the flag Deads have their own terminology:

  • Clydesdale: a heavy runner 
    Encounter: a face-to-face meeting of Dead Runners
  • Filk: In DRS parlance, a running-related song in which new lyrics are written to an existing tune
  • Goomies: Post-run snacks and drinks, e.g. bagels, bananas, sports drinks, and water
  • Penguin: a slow runner (coined by John "the Penguin" Bingham)
  • ORN: Obligatory Running Note. A brief note about a run appended to a message with no other running content
  • VRP: Virtual Running Partner. A dead who encourages another via private email
  • YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. In DRS parlance, you may react differently to the shoe, medical treatment, training program, or other matter under discussion(wikipedia)
I confess that I am drawn to the DRS for the faint whiff of subversion it carries, in my mind anyway. I've always liked alternative thinkers. Perhaps one day I will take the plunge, I just don't feel Yoda like yet!




Loughborough #2

  • Monday, April 09, 2012
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I was playing table tennis with a very cool young dude called Jacob. "Are you ready I asked?"
" I was born ready" he replied. And he was. Apart from his wild hair and off the wall attitude he was also immediately obvious as a wheelchair basketball player. I've never seen anyone control a chair quite like it, spinning it at speed and even flipping it over.
Jacob was just one of the many high quality young people I encountered at The Youth Sport Trust's Step Into Sport Camp at Loughborough University last week. I came home after the three days with a major buzz. The Trust took 50 young sports leaders with a disability and 50 able bodied leaders and put them together. Added into the mix were Athlete mentors such as World Bobsleigh champion Nicola Minichiello, Badminton player Gail Emms, Thai boxer Rachel MacKenzie, Archer Mel Clarke and gymnast Craig Heap and many other high sporting achievers. We also had inspirational talks from Gold medallist Darren Campbell and Paralympic swimmer Marc Woods as well as intensive workshops covering things like officiating and team management.
My buzz came from being embedded in the passion flowing from the young people, YST staff and the athletes, the energy was incredible. I guess I was doing what I love, working with young people and doing it in a sporting context.

Farewell...

  • Sunday, April 01, 2012
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I didn't know him personally so I don't want to get mawkish about his death. I did, however, feel that it was appropriate to go out for my run today in tribute to Micah True, found dead in The Gila National Forest, New Mexico.
Micah, known as Caballo Blanco set out last Tuesday for a trail run and never returned.
So I ran my local trails as a thanks to an inspirational and cult figure. He was a great apologist for running in it's purist and most stripped down form as well as the Tarahumara people of the Copper Canyons in Mexico who he managed to raise the profile of.
The bible speaks of a great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before us and are cheering us on from heaven. I believe in a running context this is where Micah is, one of a great cloud of past running greats watching over us.
I stopped by the brook and threw in a symbolic pebble to join the many already on the river bed.
The final, fitting word goes to Chris McDougall, author of Born To Run on Twitter this morning:  caballo had the only funeral he would have wanted: his friends spent days running in the wilderness in his honor.
Amen.