Running in a Straight Line

My posting schedule is about as reliable as a poorly run train service. Keen observers will have noticed there was no Sunday service. This was not due to planned engineering works. Other commitments meant that I had to take a swerve (not exactly a straight line, then – more later) and again risk incurring the wrath of the marathon police. I made amends by doing my long run yesterday (Monday) but, again, other commitments meant that I was not in a position to post a blog. In fact, I was in the position of resting on the sofa with my legs raised.

I try to choose my imagery and metaphors with care. My route yesterday was on the Brampton Valley Way (a disused railway line), but this time I headed north from the Draughton Crossing to Market Harborough. This took me through the Kelmarsh and Great Oxendon tunnels, These offered a beautifully cool respite from the sun (the hottest ever early Mayday bank holiday since 1972) and necessitated walking because of the darkness and uneven surface. My ineffective torch was not very good at illuminating the way ahead but at least it made me visible to random cyclists passing through. My goodness, what paraphenalia we elite runners have to encumber ourselves with! At some point in the darkness I had veered off what I thought was a straight line and stumbled against the tunnel wall, sustaining a very slight graze and a smearing of soot on my arm.

Heading north towards Market Harborough was mostly pleasant, with occasional positive inclines to offer a little challenge. The scenery was lovely, the rapeseed fields spreading in both directions under the bright sunshine, yellow on yellow, across the Ise valley. The return journey (luckily I bought – metaphorically – a return ticket, so much cheaper) was more challenging. There is a long and noticeable positive incline approaching the tunnels, amounting to a climb of about 200 feet. If I remember correctly (from reading about it, not witnessing it in Victorian times, although there were points on the route I felt that old!) the trains laden with ironstone that used this line had to have extra help (another engine attached? Or a cheering crowd?) to get up the hill. For me, it was a case of willing myself on, counting my steps in an almost hypnotic or dissociative way.

It was a relief to get back to the Draughton Crossing, although agonisingly I had to run past my parked car three times to bag the 16 miles I needed. Ideally, it should have been 17 miles, but it was just past midday at that point and, with the heat and pain in my iliopsoas, I think I made a wise decision to stop. I have one more long run to do – hopefully 20 miles this Sunday, and then it will be 2 weeks of tapering until the big day. I’m sure you will hear all about it…! Meanwhile, I will try to keep on the straight and narrow.



Three weeks to go until the Edinburgh marathon. You know the score – I’m running to raise money for Kettering Mind, our local mental health charity. If you would like to support me, here is my fundraising page. Thank you!


4 thoughts on “Running in a Straight Line

  1. Nobody said it would be easy. Indeed, it is notoriously difficult to keep one’s bearings in a tunnel. I had a similar experience in Blisworth. Isn’t there some aphorism about light at the end of the tunnel?


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