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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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 9

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Baher

Baher is a marathon runner. At short notice, and on the recommendation of a friend, he had taken time to talk to me. He wore a white tracksuit. He had short cropped hair, and gave the impression of bounding as he walked into the café. He spoke haltingly at first but grew into the conversation. He was eloquent, to the point, and a great enthusiast. He filled our conversation with positive energy. It seemed as if he had found the secret of being alive and wanted to share it.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 8

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Amy

Amy didn’t see me when she walked in. She walked up to the counter, checked her phone and went to stand outside. When she talked her eyes sparkled. She laughed often and loudly. She came most alive when she talked about the pain of running.

I’m a university student, in my final year studying Nutrition Dietetics. I live up in Lancashire but I’m down here for university. I’ve been committed to running since the start of this academic year, so October, but I got into running last year on my placement at Bournemouth.

I worked in a hospital and I was involved in patient care. It was so stressful.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 7

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Frank

Frank wore his club’s hoodie. That was to help me recognise him. I didn’t. He found me and sat down. A young looking man in his early forties, Frank wore shorts and trainers. He had neat, cropped hair and was heading out for a run later. When he spoke, words and ideas tumbled out like they had been through a washing machine. He circled round points and repeated phrases as they surfaced and re-surfaced in his mind.

So you’re a runner yourself then? I’m a relatively new runner. I started in 2017 and I used to play football but then I stopped. I got a bit unfit, put a bit of weight on, and then I thought sod it. So I just entered the local half marathon.

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Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene – Chapter 6

Chasing Laces – Voices from the Running Scene by Arthur Knaggs

Sarah

Sarah was thin. She wore a thick cotton shirt which hung loosely on her frame. Her trainers were muddy and well worn. At very little notice, she had agreed to make time to chat but I would have to come to the English department. She was working on a group project and didn’t have much time.

I don’t mind the recorder – if you had a camera, I’d have a problem with that but audio is fine.

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