Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 18

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Dr. Smith

A tall man with dark hair, Dr. Smith was easy to pick out as he approached the cafe where we had agreed to meet. There was only one bench in the café and we shared the table with a family of three. As well as being an academic, Dr Smith works with elite level athletes to improve their running performance. Throughout the interview, his voice remained calm and level. He explained complicated ideas concisely and with great patience.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 17

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

William

Will spoke to me from his sofa. He hadn’t moved all day and was using crutches. He had just finished running a 100-miler that morning. He spoke slowly and sounded knackered. He missed the cut-off for a buckle by less than half an hour.

I’m a bit tired and emotional. My whole body is pretty achy. The run was good. It was tough to finish and I’m glad I did. I got two huge blisters on my feet just behind the base of my big toe. Every step, particularly downhill, meant that I was sliding onto those blisters in my shoes.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Introduction

Running

I am not a runner, but I know a man who is – Arthur Knaggs – and he knows many others who are.

Chasing Laces is a book of interviews with these runners. It takes you far futher than just the running track.

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Book Review: So It Goes – Travels in the Aran Isles, Xian and places in between by Nicolas Bouvier

So It Goes – Travels in the Aran Isles, Xian and places in between by Nicolas Bouvier

This collection of essays begins with a river and the road beside it, that “winds without rhyme or reason where it could run straight” .

Together they set the compass for Nicolas Bouvier’s meander beside people and their places, with moments picked out like glistening pebbles.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 16

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Archie

Archie walks into the cafe with a long and happy stride. He has dark hair that bounces off his shoulders, and a smile that starts in the corners of his eyes. He wears a cap and carries a longboard. He sits down on the stool opposite me, then bounces back up almost at once to get some food. He’s not going to be in the country much longer, and tells me that I am lucky to catch him. Archie is moving to Canada.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 15

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Dr Parker

Dr Parker is a Lecturer in Physical Activity and Health. She is also a runner. A slim woman, in a blue t-shirt, Dr Parker spoke with great enthusiasm and knowledge about a sport that she loves. Injuries have prevented her from running competitively but, as she came to tell me, for her running means much more than running fast.

Running is a huge area of research, but the science behind it is a little bit wobbly, so I might not have very definite answers to some of your questions.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 14

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

George

George was early. In fact he was a week early. I didn’t expect his email. “I’m standing at the entrance, are you down the stairs, or on the shop floor level?” I was actually at the top of Box Hill. I had a minor panic. Had I given him the wrong day? No. That was good. We tried again the following week. This time, George was late. He left university last year but looked younger. Just under 6ft, he was obviously athletic but came across as nervous. He took his time to find the right words … but always did.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 13

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Tom

The house where Tom and Clara live was tucked into the corner of a winding cul-de-sac. It was almost silent on the street outside. Tom was a slender man with fierce blue eyes and the cropped hair of an air force pilot. As we talked, he gave the impression of laughing without moving his face. He gave me half an hour of his time, and spoke in an even tone without pause. He was quiet and to the point – his world record attempt, in equal parts impressive and bizarre.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 12

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Clara

Clara was the only customer in the café when I walked in. A tall woman of about middle age, wearing comfortable hiking clothes, she was outgoing, bubbly and very content with the shape her life was taking.

I don’t enjoy running. The physical act of running I find really hard. I would rather walk. That moment at the end of a run where you stop and walk… it’s lovely. The relief!

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