Running after a downpour


After failing to finish a week ago, today I completed my planned six mile run. Last night’s rain had done nothing for the earth which remained brittle and unforgiving underfoot. The air however was cool and moist. My chest felt good and my body alive. It seemed to me that I was not in the city. My throat was not sore; neither did the surface of my lungs ache when I breathed.

I watched the marathon runners reaching the peak of their fitness, running in lycra, carrying their lives on their back. Too early for the towpath cyclists, I was able to run at a speed that suited me throughout. The early-morning clubbers stumbled their way through the traffic; minicabs stopping, offering to drive visiting tourists the 400 metres or less to our nearest mainline station. A woman was sticking a poster on the wall near Camden market. I found a mobile phone abandoned (later, its owners rang, drunk, and rescued it).

I let my stride lengthen; I guarded my weak left ankle. Between the third and fourth miles I accelerated properly, briefly running at more like seven minute a mile pace. Joy it was to be in London, running.

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