Yesterday I competed for Warwickshire at the inter counties. Although my relatively poor performance on the mud meant that I did not catch up with many people in the literal sense of the phrase, it was great chance to catch up with friends. Tim and I used to run together several times a week when he lived in Birmingham but see each other infrequently these days. As we were both racing we agreed to meet up afterwards, and in the warmth and comfort of a pizza restaurant in Loughborough, caught up, reminisced and talked about mutual friends. Running a race is a good excuse to get together. In fact, the last three times I have met up with Tim have been in running-related circumstances. Some time soon we should meet up without needing to run or watch athletics before hand, just like normal people do.
Less expected, though, was bumping into a runner I knew at university who I had not seen for ten years. Running together at various stages of the race, we exchanged some knowing glances but did not say anything until we crossed the finish line two seconds and two places apart (he won). “I know you” was the best I could come up with. John replied with “you’re Ed Smith.” He got my first name correct. We chatted, moaned about the course, talked about racing plans and exchanged email addresses. Later that evening I looked at my phone to see an email from John, presumably sent from a coach somewhere between Loughborough and Edinburgh, asking how I was and telling me about his plans.
I don’t just run because it is a good outlet for my spare energy or because of the sense of purpose and achievement it gives me; I like the friendships that are forged on the track, the mud and the road. Runners are just about the only people who understand other runners and I have formed some good friendships through this great sport.
Monday: rest, unwell (0)
Tuesday: rest, unwell (0)
Wednesday: 15km easy (15)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM 10km with 2 miles hard (20)
Friday: 7km easy (7)
Saturday: Inter Counties XC, Loughborough – 115th (16)
Sunday: 22km easy (22)