The Loneliness of the SRG Runner

It’s 4am and the alarm has gone off… It’s time to get up; eat, run kit on and be off for a run.

Training for a marathon? No!

A half? No!

So, what’s all this early rising about then?

6 weeks earlier and it would have been a different story. Several Spring and summer races ahead to train for, but today it’s about sneaking out from my isolation to the 20 metres of road directly in front of the house, to run up and down, criss cross, sideways along the restricted few metres of empty road, before anyone or anything comes along my bit of road and makes it unclean and unsafe… to run a mile!

The reason for this madness? Well, way back in February some bright spark at Darlington SRG thought by would be a good idea to set us a challenge. Run a mile a day in March he said.

Yes, we said. That sounds fun.

Then some even brighter sparks said “It’s not enough. I need to do 2 miles a day… or 3 miles a day… why not try 50 miles a day?!”

So, on March 1st we all rushed out to do our first mile or three.

It was a great challenge for the mile a day people because, as in my case, it’s only 15 minutes out of my day and easily doable.

Gradually some long distancers were injured, or work, kids, life took over and they pulled out. Then Wham! On Monday 16 March, war was declared and everything changed Our simple little challenge became rather insignificant in the whole scheme of things.

Our much-loved Monday SRG outings stopped and our beloved meeting point at Darlington’s Up and Running store became unavailable to call in for a natter, buy some kit or try on new trainers.

Life changed in the blink of an eye. This was world war 3 against a devastating killer.
A few of us carried on with the challenge, but I doubt if any of our hearts were in it those first few days.

I am under house isolation which means all my running is on the spot, up the stairs, round the postage stamp size garden, on my treadmill or like today; set the alarm for 4am and run on the road in front of the house in the early hours to do my 1 mile a day. This is because I am one of the unfortunate people who have been advised to stay isolated in our homes. I have suddenly been put in the group “elderly”…. Elderly?? Me?? Ha! They got that wrong.
I’m a keen runner, loyal member of the SRG family, as well as belonging to a running club, parkrun every Saturday, full gym member and as many fitness classes as I can squeeze in.

ELDERLY?? Blooming cheek. That group is for the mid-70s.

Oh, hang on a minute…that might be me after all.

All I can say is that the person who decided someone is too old and frail to be allowed out in the outside world for 4 months has never heard of SRG… especially Darlington SRG!! We never get old and no one is ever left behind!!

But this war on the killer was serious and I do take it very seriously and our lives changed overnight.

Then the good old British stiff upper lip kicked in and we all decided to damn this germ face on and not let a killer bug get to us and ruin our hobby.

We became a closer community, on our SRG night we put our yellow tops on and went far and wide alone but together in spirit. For me, I did my Monday SRG on my treadmill and was thrilled when I heard voices outside and there were 2 SRG runners in the road jumping up and down. We had a virtual hug from the required 2 metre distance and took photos – then off they ran. Leaving me blubbering like a baby at the emotion. Since then, several SRG and various club runners have run past the house: yelled, laughed and lifted my spirits enormously.

My isolated day is now filled with live streaming of fitness classes, more than I can fit in. Often having 2 devices on the go together when I can’t decide whether to do the 10am keep fit class or body combat… and of course the obligatory SRG mile a day.

Sadly, some have left the challenge for reasons due to the war, and some have been unable to continue for family and personal issues… lost jobs, kids needing care when schools closed, or feeling unwell.

But for me in my ELDERLY group, I am lucky to be able to continue the challenge… albeit running on a patch of road round and round and round. When no one is about.

I hope that we can do one again when the war is over so everyone has a chance to finish…maybe keeping it to one or two miles a day for everyone (then certain people wouldn’t be biting off more than they can chew!)

For now, with only days to go, this damn germ will not stop me completing my mile a day.

Viva la SRG!

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