Come gather ’round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
And if your breath to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times, they are a-changin’.
A good old classic rock lyric is always a good place to start.
The times they are a changin’. Good Ol’ Bob Dylan. He couldn’t have realised what a Nostradamus he would become. Popular culture is often a barometer of the public feeling and Bobby Dylan is is certainly up there. It is easy to fit their words into prophecies. The words of the prophet are written on a subway wall. A line from Spirit of Radio by Rush. It is so easy to pluck a line from a song and consider it divine intervention. It’s so easy to do that but it’s probably better coming from Bob Dylan than DJ Clucky Cucks and his Mighty Ducks or whatever passes for musical culture these days.
The reason for my rant; well, it’s our return to running, and running in groups. It seems groups of teenagers can hang around in groups of many yet official club runs are criticised. I am club captain of Burnham-on-Sea Harriers and am meticulous in arranging our runs into small groups of 6 maximun but, of course, this is not always possible. It depends on pace, on distance, on friendship within the group and availability to run and it can be a bloody headache.
So far things have gone okay. We’ve only had a couple of complaints, one joking the other more serious but outdoor running can’t really be more serious than queuing for fish and chips so why are we vilified so much. Public perception, media?
Exercise, activity, getting off your arse and doing something is great for our health but also our mental health. It provides a change of view, a different focus. Something to aim for and therefore achieve, a sense of self satisfaction and a release of our problems. Maybe to chat on a run with buddy can release all those demons that have been cooped up in your psyche. It really is great to talk.
Online help has never been greater. The choice is up to you. England Athletics affiliated clubs have Mental Health Champions who you can speak to with without judgement ot prejudice. Facebook groups like Runr or Team Jelly Babies are another alternative. Help is available if you’re too sensitive to reach out to people you know.
The point of this is that there is help available. Sometimes not professional but others have suffered liked you have and you’re not alone and they have some experience. Please reach out, they’ll always be someone to listen without judging. The stigma isn’t there as much. Regrettably more and more people are feeling the strain especially now, without meeting with family and friends during this horrible time.
The weather was unseasonally warm with a cloudless sky and endless sunshine. Charlton Athletic had lost to The Posh so what better reason to run than lift my spirits. This was a route a Run Leader colleague of mine, Tracey Thomas, had used a couple of weeks previous and I thought would be a perfect antidote to a day at work and release from those pressures for a club run of my own. During the weeks of spring and summer, I think it’s important to get away from the dusty roads that we trample over the dark days of winter and seek the trails. Another reason is to avoid the beach and Esplanade that is so busy always for a seaside town. Public perception is everything and mentioned before we must respect this.
Hopefully I’m going to participate in my first race in over a year next weekend and I’m not sure what to expect. One day this will all be a distant memory but let’s all reduce the mental health cost we will all have to pay. We have to be optimistic, we must look forward because the past has gone.
The future’s so bright, I have to wear shades 😎.