My house overlooks a large area of playing fields, so I can see little children going to the local school in the mornings. They don’t hurry. But in the afternoons coming from the school, they can’t run fast enough. Then there are the adults, jogging around the fields. All this running brings lots of life into this beautiful green landscape.
These days, I can’t run, because of a knee operation, some years ago. Before that, I did a lot of running. As a young soldier, part of the training was running over the Scottish lowland mountains. This took place on Saturday mornings, carrying weapons, etc. The run was non-stop for 20 miles (32 km), often over marshy ground. We would arrive back at camp in time for the mid-day meal. Then we would change into clean clothes and catch the shuttle bus to the nearest town, about 3 miles away. There, we would pass the time, as soldiers normally do. We had to report back at camp by 23.59 hours, latest, whether we managed to catch the last bus or not. So another 3 mile run was often added.
The word ‘marathon’ was no more than part of the vocabulary for Greek history. A few weeks ago my wife and I went to watch the London marathon. Our main reason for being there, was because two of the junior members of our family were running in the mini-marathon. It was great fun. The boy saw us, as he was running past and came across the street to great us. The girl looked at the wrong side of the street while smiling and hoping to see us. The only response she got was a man telling her to stop smiling and concentrate on running faster. We all thought it very funny.
Whether it be running home from the school, running to keep fit, running under military orders, or running in marathons, I think, running is an important part of life. With one exception – a running nose!
marsh /marshy – a large area of very wet land
running nose – result of a head or nasal infection