I’ve just had a week off work, and during that time I have run every morning, sometimes with friends, sometimes along the beach (we went to the coast for the weekend), but mostly just by myself in our local park. No matter the weather I have been out there, often running as the sun rises. My friends and family think I’m crazy. I’m not training for any running event or even trying to beat a personal best. I’ve just been out there putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying how the autumn scenery changes in the dawn light.
Sometimes the view is so spectacular that I wish I had a camera with me, but that’s not really feasible when running. This year I’d been using an Apple Watch to track my activity, rather than taking my iPhone. But as the year progressed I realised I missed being able to take pictures while running, so lately I’ve started taking my phone with me again some days, so I can capture the amazing vistas I see when I’m on a run — which are sometimes enough to stop me in my tracks.
In the past couple of months I’ve been adding in some hill training, which is hard work, but worth it for the views from the top. Running also gives me a lot of time to think. It’s become my new form of meditation, in a way.
This week the autumn landscape has been particularly dramatic. Purple clouds, blue skies, red and yellow leaves on green grass. And as I’ve run through the park these past few days I’ve realised something: I’m running not just for myself, but also for my father. This weekend was the anniversary of his death in 1991. We used to go to the park together, and when I run past the places he used to take me as a child, I remember those times with love. If he was still around we’d probably be running together. But he isn’t, so I am running for both of us.