Psst. You. Yes, you. Want to run away together? You and me. Let’s run away from it all. Together.
And by ‘it all’, I mean 2016. This year has absolutely flattened me. Brexit. Trump. The unanticipated resurgence and normalisation of far right culture in the mainstream. For me it’s been a brutally demoralising twelve months in which my own beliefs have been so battered I’ve wanted to hide away and lick my wounds. Even working out how to be me has been a challenge, which is probably why I’ve been so quiet here. When the world turns out to be the opposite of what you believe it hits you right in the identities.
Of course that’s what people on the opposite end of the political spectrum have felt for the last two decades. Swings and roundabouts. But wherever you stand politically, the journey to Brexit and Trump has been a hateful, brutal thing to endure. Even if the results are what you hoped for, I know that not many of you would have chosen the ugly path that took us to them.
So let’s run away together. Tomorrow. And we won’t stop running until the death of 2016 is on the horizon.
December 1st is the start of the annual Advent Running challenge. Hundreds, if not thousands of people all over the world will be taking part. You can too. It’s dead easy.
Run for thirty minutes every day. You don’t have to be fast or fit. You don’t have to run far. You can stop and start as often as you like. Thirty minutes is the goal. That’s it. It’s a challenge that starts off pretty easy, then gets pretty tough, then oddly gets easier and tougher again in strange peaks and troughs which don’t seem to make much sense.
Or if you can’t run every day (or don’t want to), mix it up with thirty minutes of some other exercise. Anything counts. Yoga, swimming, biking, ice curling, crocodile wrangling… thirty minutes of something, every day. I’m a purist – I like the idea of a long running streak. Others mix and match. It’s all good.
Finally, sign up to the Advent Running group on Facebook. It doesn’t cost anything. Say hello. Post something when you’ve done your thirty. Make friends. Meet up with people where you are if you feel like it. Or don’t, if you prefer to fly solo. You won’t feel solo thanks to the FB mob, I promise you. It’s the perfect group activity for introverts.
Also, guilt free cake. Just saying…
Do it every day until December 25th. Some people try to get all the way to January. The way I’m feeling, that suits me. I want to run all the way to 2017 and not look back.
Join us. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe. Let’s run together. Your Facebook wall will thank me for it. All the vile divisions will fade into the background for a while as your wall gets overtaken by posts from people trying their best to rise to a challenge, and it’s a fantastic thing to be a part of. Politics gets checked at the door. It’s a glorious wave of positivity to ride out the year on. In 2015 the challenge and the group gave me back some faith in people. This year I need that even more.
Run for fitness. Run to escape. Run for sprouts.
Run with me. Tomorrow. Half an hour. You can work out how to fit the rest of the month in later.
Let’s run, and leave 2016 in our wake.