Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


Big Things Sneaking

March 23, 2015 by Richard Wright in Journal, Running

Winter RunningMarathons shouldn’t sneak up on you. There’s nothing sneaky about 26 miles and 385 yards. 26 miles and 385 yards is really quite a big thing. It should make too much noise to catch you unawares.

Yesterday the nice people at the Edinburgh Marathon emailed me. Hey, they said. And, It’s only ten weeks, from today, until you have to do the marathoning right through the marathon, for a whole marathon.

That may not have been exactly how they worded it. I wasn’t paying too much attention to the phrasing, because of how I was exploding all with panic and stuff.

Seriously. If I were a cartoon my jaw would have unhinged, and dropped to the desk while staying attached to the rest of my head by my somehow elasticated skin and muscles. My eyeballs would have elongated in unhelpful ways towards my computer, as though they were tethered balloons being inflated in a single breath by giants. In a different sort of cartoon, that might once have been shown late at night on a Friday or Saturday, my eyeballs might just have exploded right there and then, showering my keyboard with weird eye fluids and gunk.

The email took me a bit by surprise, basically.

Now obviously, not being completely insane, I hadn’t actually forgotten that I’ve signed up to two marathons plus extras this year. They just seemed to be a bit further away than they’ve turned out to be.

I’m nowhere near trained enough. I haven’t actually had a bad winter of running. I ran in the tail end of a hurricane, and through snow and ice, and fog, and quite a lot of rain. I ran through dark places with only a headlamp to light my way. I ran early in the mornings and late at night. Most weeks I ran at least twice, sometimes four or five times. A lot of the winter running, when it has been light enough to see anything at all, has been very beautiful. See that picture at the top? That is all of the winter running in a single photo. Every bit.

I never ran very far though. Most of my runs have been about five miles, which is the distance between work and home. Some have been a little longer – the odd six or eight miler – but those have been few and far between.

None of them have been the sort of long run that gets you ready for 26 miles and 385 yards. I thought I had a bit more time, somehow, but then this big sneaky marathon jumped out at me from its cunning hiding place, all whooping and waving its horrid kilometres about, and making me promise to eat bananas and run until my feet fall off and get eaten by dogs.


Massive space balls with tentacles and depraved appetites.

Right. There’s nothing else for it. I’m going to have to overcompensate. Ten weeks to get marathon-ready. I have written down a training plan. It is a good training plan, because of how I have coloured it in. Colouring in is a certain sign of a calm and methodical approach. Because sensible.

With my coloured in training plan, I will conquer all.

Starting tomorrow. After I eat all the nachos for my dinner.

I’ve got the nachos coloured in on my training plan too.

So that’s all right then.

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