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Sunday, 10 October 2010

Moving On and Consuming

First thoughts today are around completing the World Wide Festival of Races run yesterday, the 9th of October.  This great event is about participants entering all over the world and running their distances in their local area (or gathering within their running community in their country).  I love this concept because, with social networking, it feels very much like we’re actively developing the Run Net Community.  
I ran the Half Marathon distance on my own around my home in Yeovil.  I felt I wanted to do this run alone (but whilst listening to the Phedippidations podcast dedicated to the event with shout outs from around the world); I haven’t run this far since 2003 and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go but I was pleased to complete the run in 1:48:04.  The conditions were excellent for running and I smiled as I thought of the runners around the world taking part.
Perhaps it is naive to believe, as Steve Runner often hopes, that we can make a difference to our issues of global conflict and hatred simply by running and yet if we don’t all make some small effort then we surely are doomed.  And, in the end, I really do believe that there are many more caring and loving people in this world than those who seek to oppress and damage their fellow beings.  I think of the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “If one person breathes more easily because you have lived then you have succeeded”.
Many thanks to all those who helped put the WWFOR together....and to all those who participated, I hope your run was a good one.
Running History
So the late summer of 1982 saw me entering a couple of local hill races at summer shows. The Cornwood Show Race on the 21st of August saw another second place finish for my diary...but there were only 6 entrants.  It was busier a couple of weeks later for the Ivybridge Beacon Race and I didn’t trouble to record my place.  These two runs remain in my mind as early excursions into the unique world of fell racing, not that they were especially tough versions of this particularly gruelling form of competing.  For a full and delightful investigation into this activity I thoroughly recommend a book I have just read, Feet In The Clouds by Richard Askwith...a great book that will inspire, inform and move you.
Other running in the latter part of 1982 saw continued cross country races and completing the 2nd Honiton Marathon on the 17th of October in a  new pb of 2 hrs 49 mins (15th place).
In 1983 I completed the Seven Sisters Marathon for the second time (no easier) and on Sunday 27th February I ran the Mayflower 10 in Plymouth in a time of 60:00:47...oh so close to the sub-1 hour ten miles.
The remainder of 1983 saw sporadic running.  Despite my earlier recollections I now discover that I suffered with bleeding in a tendon sleeve in my right leg, which curtailed some running.  It was the 3rd year of my degree and there were finals to be sat.  Furthermore, I actually did some time at sea.  One highlight was improving my Rock Race time in Gibraltar to 24 mins 33 secs.
All this was, however, part of the build up to 1984 and, perhaps, my finest running moment.
What about minimizing our footprint and reducing our consumption?  Many of us in the developed world have a great deal off stuff in our lives.  We seem to spend most of our working lives trying to accumulate yet more stuff.  Some of this stuff gives us great pleasure (I love using my iPod) but we can, I feel, make the notion of accumulation an end in itself.  
Perhaps it’s a function of my age but I’m increasingly wanting to simplify my life.  I was greatly affected by reading the book by Yvon Chouinard, the founder of the company Patagonia.  His book, Let My People Go Surfing, has altered the way that Gina and I view consumption and stuff.  This isn’t about a hairshirt approach for us and we feel that, for good or ill, we live in a country and culture that bases its economic structure on consumption so we have to continue to buy some things.  The change for us, though, is that if we buy something new (standfast consumables like food and wine) that is adding to our stock of stuff then we must either give a similar item away to someone who can make use of it or, at least, recycle it.  For example, I bought a new pair of trekking trousers so I am going to give away an older pair of trousers.
This is a simple step but quite a profound shift in thinking for us and, we believe, it will mean that we give greater consideration to the purchases we make in the future.

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