I pass a scruffy looking man carrying a plastic bag which looks to be containing cans of Special Brew. “It’s not even midday” I think. I begin to suspect that he wasn’t likely to join me in taking up running.
Friday, 2 November 2012
I’m standing in the hallway of my house and I’m putting on my old, battered Nike trainers. I select an appropriate and energetic song on my iPhone, pop my earphones in and then I head outside to face the full force of this cold and crisp November day.
Today, I am no ordinary student. I am student who is about to go running through the mean streets of Kingston.
It is at this point that I should probably explain. I have taken part in numerous sports throughout my life yet I’ve never gone jogging in Kingston, despite the fact I used to compete for my secondary school in athletics and cross-country events. I reasoned that it was probably time to become of those people you see pounding the pavement.
For my debut running adventure I rationed that it was probably wise to run a route that I was familiar with. I decide to head in the direction of university. Despite the chilly conditions, I begin jogging down my road and through Green Lane Park. As someone who is afraid of dogs, I know I have made a tactical error by running through a park full of the four-legged creatures. I plot a course well away from any dogs and proceed through incident-free.
During my athletics days I was always paranoid about setting off at too quick a pace. By the time I reach the alley-way by Berrylands train station I begin to suspect that I am sprinting. This must make me look slightly strange, so I ease off the pace and try to maintain a gentle speed.
After passing the sewage works and cemetery that have become regular sights on my daily walk to university, I reach the houses on Lower Marsh Lane. I pass a scruffy looking man carrying a plastic bag which looks to be containing cans of Special Brew. “It’s not even midday” I think. I begin to suspect that he wasn’t likely to join me in taking up running.
After passing the man, it struck me that the Royal Borough of Kingston is a wonderfully varied place. In the space of roughly ten minutes I had passed through a park, past a pub, through a winding alley and jogged by a cemetery, a Sikh temple and then a potential morning drinker.
Once this thought cleared, I had reached Villiers Road. I was faced by an important decision, which way to go? I could either head left taking the shorter route through Berrylands, albeit up a hill, or I could turn right and run the lengthy distance back home via Kingston town centre.
I opt to go left but the hill proves one step too far. Near the top I reach a conveniently placed bench which I proceed to sit at for a while. I took stock of my run and give myself a B- for effort. My report card would read – “Could do better but an encouraging first try.”
I walk the rest of the way home and begin searching for running apps on my phone to aid my future endeavours. It’s probably better if I leave the selection of a route to technology next time.
To be continued…