I AM lucky to live within an easy trot of several lovely running routes, so I never need to resort to taking the car to reach somewhere suitable.
Closest to me are the well-trodden pavements of my little market town, useful for when I’ve left it late for a run and need my way to be illuminated with a gentle sodium glow, but I always prefer a rural run.
Within a quarter-of-a-mile of my front door I have these to choose from, depending on how energised I feel: riverside paths through water meadows, woodland paths, a two-mile driveway with grass verges leading deep into the countryside, a nature reserve with a mile-long tarmac circuit, and, joy of joys, two long sections – one going east, one west – of an old railway line now restored and resurfaced for recreational use.
I know it’s a huge privilege to have such running riches on my doorstep and I never cease to be thankful for that and for the fact I don’t have to cross major roads or even encounter traffic on more than a minor scale.
So, depending on time available, the weather, my mood and if I feel like tackling hills or wimping out and going for a flatter option, I dress up like a real runner in my Thoosa kit and head off out of the door, turning to the left (for the tough-guy stuff) or the right (the wimp’s choice). Anything up to two hours later I’m back, sky-high on the adrenalin of achievement and smug satisfaction, the endorphins clamouring like drunken fans in a mosh pit, instantly making me feel I want to go back out for more.
The high lasts way beyond shower-time so I bring myself down to earth with a serious belt of strong Italian coffee and a look at the day’s diary to see what has to be achieved. Not that there’s much of greater importance, in my opinion, than the joy of a run. And I guess you’d agree.