Why I run

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I run to see the same city differently. Leaving my house one October morning before breakfast, I find the pavement on which I run deserted. A squirrel, hearing me approach, looks astonished to find her London occupied by any other being. She stares in growing anxiety as I approach. Only when I am almost at her feet does she finally turn and bound away, to the grass, the safety of a tree. In the street, the cars are still. As I approach the park in which I mainly run, I see no people. The grass is damp and the morning cool. I breathe it deep into my lungs. I seem to be able to see further into the distance than the London work-day air usually allows.

The day itself is a work of autumn beauty. I see a tree, its leaves hanging down in showers of copper. Above me, the clouds are low, cut into clumps of cotton. It is a rare privilege to have all this to enjoy, selfishly, alone. My body relaxes into the morning. My stride tentatively lengthens, I work my arms alongside my legs.

I return home to my partner and our boys, I am renewed.

[from my book Lives; Running: the book is now available to order from Bookmarks and the e-book from Amazon]

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