Keep on running

What’s that bright light in the sky?

We need Winter, because without it we would not appreciate Spring so much.

Darling buds

Even so, Spring has been a long time coming to London. We had, apparently, the coldest Easter on record. But Spring did finally splutter into life, making the blackbirds sit up and scratch their arses and cough their middle of the night greetings and the warmest day of the year so far (and my birthday, coincidentally), was just last Sunday. It’s been a bit of a relief—even the wren that sings outside my window at 6 in the morning is not unwelcome (even if, occasionally, a muttered “the early worm can just fuck off” can also be heard).

Long-tailed tit

Last week, I was in Amsterdam for three days on a business trip, and when I got back the cherry blossom had exploded and bluebell heads were poking up and the first batch of baby coots were peeping at their long-suffering parents.

Yesterday saw the woods near our house filled with people (and, it has to said, the occasional recalcitrant child) blinking bewilderedly in the sunlight.

And today, another regular Spring event took place—the London Marathon.

It’s always a fun event, however you wish to participate: whether running or spectating and cheering. Even a cynical sod such as myself is cheered by waving and shouting at random strangers. Somehow, the feeling from crowd-sourced happiness and goodwill turns London again into the same kind place it was last summer, when we hosted the XXX Olympiad.

(Maybe if you have a desperate urge to drive around the place for some reason, it’s not so good. But hey.)

“Gill”. Putting your name on your shirt is a great way to get people to cheer for you

Unlike the Olympics, the London Marathon happens every year, and every year for the past three Jenny and I have stood at the end of our road to cheer for at least some of the race. This year, though, there was a particular poignancy, and even the casual observer couldn’t help but notice the little black ribbons that many runners wore.

Keeping on

The British response to terrorism, or the threat of it, is an interesting one. Terrorism seems to have the opposite effect of that intended. Even the IRA bombs of the 80s and 90s just strengthened our resolve and our tea; such that a common response to 7/7 was “bunch of bloody amateurs”.

Mo & Co.
Mo Farah, in the cool shades

So the cheering crowds today were, if anything, even more numerous, cheerful and vocal than before; from the toddlers being scooped off the road before the arrival of the elite runners to the “Homes for Heroes”-supporting landlord from the Adam and Eve with his singular words of encouragement and dance tracks over the PA.


Team GB

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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5 Responses to Keep on running

  1. Anna says:

    Thanks for posting this, Richard. This makes me happy. I too ran a road race today, outfitted in my Boston gear, thinking of my Boston friends and supporting the running community that I have been a part of for years. Like you said, what happened in Boston only made me want to run more races, cheer at more races and not cower. Though my race today did make modifications to the security procedures, there were still tons of spectators and I even set a personal record for the distance. In other words, the Boston bombers and all who support them can suck it.

  2. Ah, that British resolve. Wonderful stuff. If only you could bottle it and export it around the world.

    Thanks for the post Richard, as Anna said it brightened up my day. And the black ribbons were a nice idea, well done those runners.

  3. cromercrox says:

    Interesting, isn’t it? That the effect of terrorism seems to have the opposite effect to what’s intended. Keeping Calm, and Carrying On. It somehow bolsters my theory hypothesis that terrorists are basically young men with tiny willies who can’t get a girlfriend, and perhaps because of that, they hate women.

  4. alejandro says:

    Richard P.G.-, you ran the marathon?

  5. rpg says:

    Mais non. Sadly.

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