Running at the British Seaside. More fun than sitting in your car – official!

seawallMy good lady wife keeps suggesting that I need to make this blog a little bit more ‘positive and life-affirming’, whatever that means. But, you know, it’s hard, when all I have to work with is the occasional Not Very Impressive performance in a race, and my 3-4 times weekly jaunts along the sea wall, through the dunes and back along the beach.

Frankly, one could become a little discouraged, if one wasn’t just such a hell of a nice guy.

Take today for example. After standing in the persistent rain while my son played footie, it was time to come home for a banana and some pancakes, prior to setting off for a gentle 12 miles along the sea wall with a few of miles of dunes and beach thrown in for good measure.

It’s a wonderful run, regardless of the weather. No, strike that. It’s a wonderful run, especially in really bad weather. Mainly because while the six mile outward run is usually directly into wind and rain, the return leg boasts a good deal of wind assistance which makes a ‘negative split’ (as I believe proper runners call it) pretty much a sure thing.

The thing is though, I can take the six miles of running into wind, rain and occasionally hail. I’m even becoming reasonably adept at side-stepping the dog plop that litters the dunes, fearless in the face of the stupid devil dogs that regularly accost me en route and semi-impervious to even the spiky marram grass that leaves my shins a mass of blood every time I run this course.

What I’ll never get used to though, is the depression induced by running past mile after mile of people whose greatest thrill is to get up early on a Sunday, drive for miles to get to Southport, and then sit in their Nissan Micras drinking room-temperature Nescafé from a tartan thermos flask.

Many of these people are no older than me by the way – so this really isn’t a diatribe against the blue rinse brigade. It just amazes me that with so much in the way of beaches and dunes just a few yards away, 90% of people seem to come here just to sit and eat chips in their cars.

I don’t begin to understand it. But on the other hand, I’m sure that most of them think I’m a weirdo too.

The picture above shows part of the sea wall that’s about 2 miles from my house. At high tide on a windy day, it’s perfectly possible to collect a refreshing salt water shower at this point – if you time your run carefully enough.

And that’s usually when, even after 10 miles, I’m grinning broadly as the wave hits me. Partly because I’m desperately in need of a light pick-me-up by this point. But mainly because of the baffled and appalled expressions on the faces of all the people who are sitting in their cars reading the Mail on Sunday and wondering if a second Rich Tea biscuit with their coffee would be irreligiously excessive and likely to cause sensory overload.

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