The loneliness of the short distance runner

flags and sky

This week most of my running companions are on holiday or unavailable , and I have missed my regular weekend and after work runs with friends. It is not that I mind the occasional solitary run , as I quite enjoy taking in my surroundings and do find the time alone therapeutic. In fact when I took up running, I had this vision of me doing these long, deep thinking runs when it would be just me and nature and I would  return cleansed and at one with the world. I saw myself transformed into a lithe, rangy athlete covering mile upon mile, deep in great thought, transported to another plain by the runners high.

Of course these long solitary runs would be accomplished effortlessly. 😉

dappled trees

But as with much of my running life so far, the reality it has not followed the script, as it turns out I mostly prefer running with others and let’s just say my quest for lithe athleticism is still a ‘work in progress’.  Running has become more than just a way to keep fit and sometimes even more importantly it’s the social aspect of running I enjoy, and I probably would not still be running if it had not been for the encouragement and friendship I get from meeting up regularly with my group of running chums.

This week it has been warm and sunny, but without commitments to keep to, my motivation to get out for a run has been tested.


On Sunday realising how little mileage I had completed in the week, I decided to do a slightly longer run and set out on a variation of my usual route. Even at 9am it was warm and humid – well warm by Scottish standards at 18 degrees C. I chose not take music as with such lovely weather I wanted to minimise my gadgetry so I could stop and take the odd picture.

canal sign
canal sign

canal staircase

Running along the woodland  Dell path to the canal, although alone I had plenty of company. This shared path always has lots of families out, dog walkers and cyclists and perhaps because it was such a sunny Sunday, everyone seemed in good humour.

Sunday morning and the route  had no shortage of  runners and as a lone runner on this occasion, I welcomed each passing friendly acknowledgement  from fellow runners whether at tempo pace, in a group or even with headphones.

Falkirk sign

There is something very cheering and uplifting to exchange the imperceptible nod , or briefest of greeting as you pass on the path, knowing you are both members of a shared community.

pink flower

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