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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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 11

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Running with the Mums

Cathy told me to come running with the Newton Mums. So I went to the gate at the entrance to the park and waited with her. I was surprised by how many different abilities turned out for the same group. Sarah only took up running two months ago. Georgie ran with her collie attached by a harness to her hips, and it flew off the front. Jackie had just run a half marathon. Harriet was Jackie’s mother.

The pack split early. Some girls were fast, others wanted to run at a slower pace. I was sure that we would get lost. This, however, is part of the Newton Mums’ plan. They have a “loop and scoop” policy. At pre-determined points on the trail, the fastest runners turn around and jog to the back of the group where they start again. It is an excellent way to run. Nobody holds back. Everyone finishes together.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 10

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

The Newton Mum Run

Cathy and Sarah founded the Newton Mum Run in 2010. They agreed to meet me at a coffee shop in Newton. They arrived on time and in Lycra. They had been at yoga. I explained who I was. I explained what I was doing, and why it mattered. Nobody got up and walked out. I relaxed. They told me I could ask some questions.

C – My side of the story starts in 2014. I was at a dinner party on New Year’s Eve, and I made a New Year’s resolution to start exercising. I went on my first run-walk on 13 January. I haven’t really stopped since.

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