Autumn Gold

Long Eaton ParkRun 7 October

Autumn Gold

As golden leaves begin to slowly fall,

the runners stretch and bend,

With thoughts of sizzling bacon cobs awaiting at the end.

In lurid technicolor the people come to run

Excited chatter fills the air in the bright October sun

Elites are bouncing, anticipating, the reward from all their training

Whilst hounds are yelping, happily; leashes all a’straining

Muscles tense as runners wait,

their fingers poised on Garmin

Mums encourage one another,

while babies are alarming

Clock strikes 9 and off they go,

a blur of Lycra neon

I shout aloud amongst the crowd

and cheer the number 3 on

At halfway mark the cowbell clangs inspiring weary faces

Applause and cheers are not reserved, we’re there for all the paces

First across the bridge appears,

exerting power and energy

His focused eyes unwavering,

his driving stride in synergy

Sprinting to the finish line,

he crosses at a canter

Whilst others chase his rapid pace

to cries of friendly banter

Pacers drag a following of eager PB chasers

25 or 45, result brings happy racers

A hiccup in the funnel, runner fails to take a token

Sync is out but never fear, we’ll fix what has been broken

Tail Walkers arrive at last, position 407

Selfies snapped commemorate, they’re all in 7th Heaven

But now the work must really start

To scan, reorder tokens

Upload the stats to state the facts

For the runners who’ve awoken

And braved the chilly morning

To release their own potential

Syncing all the finish times is totally essential

Email tells your time and pace

And urges you to better

Even more determined now

To be a PB getter!

But whether running in a crowd

Or striving on your own

You’ve exceeded the achievements

Of the folks who stayed at home!

The Rhythm of the Race

I run to the rhythm of a 4/4 beat
It’s percussion brings a meaning to my ever-pounding feet
Every inch a victory, every mile a stone
Every challenge that I conquer
Is an enemy overthrown

Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah
Seeeya ha harrrhah

Navajo staccato rhythm breathed loudly in defiance
My lungs breath deep 
The clean fresh air 
No longer ventolin reliant 

I reach my toes and guide my feet
Through muddy tracks
And cobbled street
With wind in face and sweat on back
I bow my head and plod my track

Each runner set before me 
Is a battleground to take
Each landmark I attain 
Is a fortress that I stake

And lay my claim 
To victory
Over self and doubt and past
And blistered feet and aching bones 
And times I wasn’t fast.

But finishing is what we seek
Our eyes like flint on goal
And as we strive to reach that line 
The end will make us whole

Every single sinew strains
Your focused eye unwavering 
And faster now the heart-drum pounds 
As finish line you’re savouring

Hiyaha haw-haw, hiyaha haw-haw
The tribal chieftain cries
Every fibre of your being is straining for that prize.

High lift knees and rapid feet 
Emerge with sudden kick 
As you relish this – your chosen moment 
And take a hungry lick 

Of the feast of opportunity that lies now at your feet
Calves and thighs in synergy and faster yet the beat
And poured out like an offering
Is this heady, sweaty potion

To a god of sport and energy
To a demigod of motion.
Your passion etched across your face 
You pass them one by one 
And take your place in history
As one who came and won.

P J Deakin 2017 ©

Learning to Run

When I was at school I wasn’t particularly good at sport. Enthusiastic, but not good. 

I couldn’t dribble so was last in the queue when picking teams for footy.  I couldn’t catch or throw so cricket was out, and everyone seemed to be faster than me and so with  asthma there seemed little point in running.

The one event I enjoyed doing was the 1500m. I was the slowest, every time but I consoled myself that I had finished and that having two boys who ran for the county in my race was hardly a fair comparison. 

When I was about to leave school I suddenly shot up. I went from 5th shortest lad In the year to among the ten tallest!

I grew legs and discovered that the lads who had beat me up and beaten me in the flat race on sports day since time immemorial were now easy to avoid. These legs had a stride which could outpace most of the lads in my year now.

By the time I discovered this new tool, I had left school and so sports day was just a memory and to me it all seemed like too little, too late.

I wasn’t aware of running clubs and didn’t think there was any point in approaching athletics clubs as I didn’t know how or what they would do.

As an asthmatic I struggled with breathing and so was never able to get far enough to build the stamina for running.

So I avoided sport, generally. But when at College I had an evening job in town, my shift finished 5 minutes after the bus left and so I would have a 20 minute wait for another. I took to racing the bus from Market Street to Victoria Centre as it went round the blocks and picked up the extra passengers.

But then I started to run for fun. I used to run the bus route, with a couple of shortcuts, to see how far I could get before the bus caught up with me. I would regularly reach Sneinton Crossing (halfway home) before the bus caught up with me. Despite this I didn’t get involved in any running events. 

I left college and started work and forgot all about sport. Marriage and children requires dedication and devotion and so once again I forgot about sport.

A sponsored event at work a few years ago came along. A sponsored Santa Fun Run. I trained for it and surprised myself at my renewed stamina.

A previous job working nights at a supermarket had caused me to gain weight in a favourable way and I gained 30 about pounds. In 2 months I had gone from 10 1/2 to 12 1/2 stones (147 pounds to 175 pounds)

No longer a skinny weakling in danger of being blown away by a gust of wind, I now filled my broad frame and my lungs were stronger, asthma no longer an issue.

I started to run 5km regularly 2 to 3 times per week and increased my distance up to 10km to raise money for a trip to work with a children’s charity in India.

After the event I stopped training. The. A year ago a friend I’d made through my drama society encouraged me along to the local ParkRun. I took part and was pleased with the noticeable improvements in my fitness and performance.

Yet again I lost interest a little as Summer’s heat took my breath away. Having moved house in the New Year I determined to persevere with the running and booked myself a place in a Half Marathon in my hometown of Nottingham for September as an inspiration and target to get me out of bed on Saturday morning.

Since then I’ve seen my time splits plummet as I’ve turned up each week, joined the local running club and signed up for an additional half marathon this Sunday, the Ramathon in Derby.

I used to think that sport was something I would never be good at. Some people just had it and some, like me, didn’t. But I have realised that some sports are less about skill and more about practice.

Anyone can run. How often and how far is up to you, but anyone can do it. I’m already looking ahead to next year for my first marathon.  I’m not the fittest person, but I’ve learned that with hard work and determination I can achieve much more than I ever thought possible and so can you!