Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Getting Fitter

Briefing For An Ascent Into Hell

RishikeshEdited to add: Apart from the fact that it is April and I am a fool, the timing of the post is coincidental. I know, even I thought I might be joking…

Behold the view from our riverside camp on the edge of the Ganges. Beautiful, isn’t it?

A good job too, because that’s all I got to enjoy. I managed to pull something in my shoulder/back before we got there, which meant that there was bugger all I could take part in. No kayaking, no river rafting, no hiking. I stood on this shore for three days, and was thoroughly glum. The ladies had a great time, and I tried (probably unsuccessfully) not to be too grumpy about it. Family breaks where you can’t do anything with your family are rubbish.

Rishikesh HalfHowever, if I hadn’t had all that time sitting around the camp twiddling my thumbs*, I might not have found this poster. Standing in a beautiful valley with the icy Ganges flowing past, staring up at the wooded cliffs all around, coming back in a couple of months to run through it seemed like the most brilliant idea in the world.

I’ve now checked the website. The event claims to be the toughest half marathon in India. Rocky off road paths, sandy river beaches, loose shale, an almost 500 metre ascent, heat climbing to forty degrees… the fastest runner last year (the inaugural event) crossed the line in two hours and forty-seven minutes. The runner who came in tenth did so in four hours and ten minutes. There was over an hour separating the winner from the tenth place finisher. The ‘toughest half marathon’ claim may not be entirely overstated.

It sounds almost absurdly brutal and punishing.

I’ll be registering later this afternoon.

No sponsorship or anything this time around – this one’s all mine.

Getting there and back on the weekend might need a bit of planning. I’m not sure I’ll be able to take a long weekend from the dayjobbery  so may have to have a forty-eight hour turnaround plan for getting there, doing the run, and getting back. I’ll  sort out the rest of the details after I’ve tried to trick some of the Mumbai marathon mob into joining me. If anybody else in the area fancies it, let me know. If I can’t con anybody else into believing that this is achievable, I’ll head off myself.

Why? Well, look at the top photograph. How can I not want to go for a run there? If I don’t do it, how badly will I regret it when I’m sitting in my new house in Scotland in 2015, with the rain driving down and India a fading memory?

Quite a lot, I think. Better not risk it.

So, suddenly I’m training properly again. That seems, admittedly, a little ridiculous at the minute. There isn’t a position I can stand, sit, or lie down in which doesn’t in some way hurt thanks to my shoulder. Fingers crossed it clears up quickly, because I have a lot to do.

*well all right, I did some writing as well, but I wasn’t happy about it…

Currently reading (novel): The Ridge, Michael Koryta

Currently reading (anthology): Chiral Mad, edited by Michael Bailey

Currently reading (anthology): The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stores, edited by Anne and Jeff Vandermeer

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