Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Thinking about what Mr Murakami thought about when he was running

Mr Murakami was right in his descriptions of running. Initially I was perfectly satisfied to let him do the running, but then after he passed all those dead dogs in Greece and the unjust cruelty of that marathon where you’ve to hit mile 38 out of a total 65 mile course by a certain time or they hoof you from the race… I needed to raise out of the armchair and test drive what he reports.

Firstly he omits to mention, probably because he’s been at it 26 years and no longer notices, the perpetual build up of NASA style pressure and pain round the shins and ankles after running about five paces. Pressure only relieved by stopping and yowling. This never ceases even after 21 whole days of running.

Another omission is the ankle bending motion required to dodge the ample supply of dog shite (are there no dogs in Japan?) Eyes must remain down or shoes and nasals will suffer.

Eventually when you can alight your gaze for a few seconds, you do discover hark indeed, he’s right the same faces pass each day and nod or avoid eye contact…there’s the man in the green jacket who cycles up that hill every day (at a much swifter pace than I manage going down it) and then a few days more of ‘hark, there’s that man in the green coat before a closer squint …and  er bloody hell I actually know that man in the green coat and better duck so he does not bear witness to me in this much reduced condition.

He also did not mention the runner’s fury at objects blocking their way. Usually these objects happen to be baseball players, who seem to adopt urban sprawl as their policy for temporarily inhabiting outdoor spaces in pursuit of raising their bats. Pace, pace, pace, pant, chest pain, pant, cue blurring of vision, what the bleep is that slung across the path…tents, bicycles, extended family, cooler, and finally, but surely with single intent of wiping out approaching, arthritic runner they come complete with waist high dangling cigarettes designed to singe you and your polyester shorts as you pass them and their sprawling (and unnecessary) accoutrements. And this was on a rainy day. I think they bring the entire block of flats when the sun comes out.

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