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Saturday 12 September – 31km

31km, 19.2 miles. My longest distance ever. I was running a steady, much slower pace than I’d originally planned; once more I found myself naturally speeding up for the final 4km and actually enjoying the run.

26.2 miles amazingly now feels achievable. I just need to figure out the final part of my route and avoid the strangely magnetic presence of the A205 South Circular when I reach Eltham…

Helen’s London Virtual Marathon Route

Greenwich  to Cator Park via the Waterline Way (Approx 7 miles).

Green Chain route to take me from Beckenham to Eltham Palace (Approx 14 miles).

The next part is still TBC as I lost the Green Chain route and ended up on the A205 South Circular for the third time. The plan on the day  is to continue on the Green Chain route  to Oxleas Wood, pick the Thames at Woolwich and loopback until I reach 26.2 miles.

Running Soundtrack

Greenwich to Beckenham: Re-listened to Duncan Marley’s Zero Point on Mixcloud.

Beckenham back to Greenwich: Change of scene via BBC Sounds. I travelled to nineteenth century Russia and a classic tale of doomed romantic love with Anna Karenina  – imagining Beckhenham Mansion (below) was the place where Count Vronksy abandons Kitty to dance with Anna for the first time…

Saturday 5 September – 27km

And welcome to my penultimate Long Run…

Where I awarded myself a Personal Best for Distance – not for time, this was one of my slowest runs ever – more like a fast walk in parts!  However, this was my first long run where not only my legs weren’t screaming at me to stop for the final 2km, but where, amazingly, I was actually picking up speed for the final few km instead of slowing right down.

So there’s a first marathon lesson – run much slower than you normally would for the first half.

Next October with one marathon under my belt, I will focus on improving my time.  This year, I’m focusing on enjoying the unique London Lockdown Marathon experience and raising money for South London Special League.

The playlist this week moved between The Prodigy Experience, Arab Strab’s Monday at the Hug and Pint and The Last Romance, Baxter Dury’s Prince of Tears and  Marhaba by Maalem Mahmoud Guinia.

The green contemplative peace of Beckenham Woods – another part of London I didn’t know existed before marathon training.

Following the Green Chain from Beckenham to the Tudor / art deco architecture fusion of Eltham Palace. 

 

Saturday 29 August – 21km

13 miles on what is now my usual running route – Blackheath, Lewisham, Waterlink Way to Beckenham and back.

Next week I’ll be in Block Three of training. And that means it’s 5 weeks until the world’s first Virtual London Marathon on October 4 2020 and my very first marathon.

Today’s soundtrack  was Jon Hopkins’ soaringly gorgeous Singularity, Underworld’s pounding Everything, Everything live album, finishing off with the Prodidgy’s seminal Music for the Jilted Generation.  Steve Lamaq and 6 Music’s Album Club  played this album out in all its uncensored, anarchic, energetic musical fury on 19 August 2020 and what a glorious, glowing, raving listening party that was. All these years later and it’s lost none of its urgent rawness.

 

Thursday 20 August – 28km

My birthday.

And I celebrated by runing futher than I’d ever run before, training for my virtual London marathon for local charity South London Special League.

28km or 17.4 miles (and I really did feel the final two km….!)

Accompanying me on my run was Zero Point, a rather fine deep house mix by Duncan Marley, including tracks from Omar S, Small People, Super Discount and Francoise K.

 

I discovered new parts of London via the Green Chain and Capital Ring routes, picking these up at Beckhenham (after coming off the Waterlink Way) getting slightly lost in Beckhenham Mansion grounds and then finished at Eltham Palace. What I should have done here is continued along the quiet routes to Oxleas Woods and Woolwich.  Instead, I headed down the relentless South Circular just as I was starting to feel the miles and needed maximum distraction.

The no filter photos –  just the quick snap with my iPhone 7  as I run past:

Blackheath. Welcome to your birthday.

Discovering a new building – Beckenham Mansion. Turned a corner and there it was.

Photoshop out Canary Wharf and I could be deep in the countryside.

Panoramic view – central London in the distance on the left, Canary Wharf and Greenwich to the right. Eltham Palace a couple of miles ahead.

Monday 10 August – 5km

There will be no summer holidays this year but as I stepped out of my front door this morning, it felt like I was on holiday. Warm sun, soft gentle breeze, golden light over Greenwich Park. I found out on Friday that this year’s London Marathon will go ahead on October 4th – but it will be an elite only event. The rest of us have the option of running a virtual Marathon – as long as we complete 26.6 miles on Sunday October 4th, we get a 40th anniversary medal. And also, be part of London Marathon sporting history at the same time.  The photo below was take approximately 2km into my 5km tempo run while listening to Four Tet’s Love Cry. Take microholidays where you can. Leave the madness for a few minutes. Don’t forget to breathe.

 

Running in a pandemic

the world took a deep breath

and went silent and went still

keep your distance keep at least 2 meters apart

out once a day for exercise

running one foot in front of the other foot in front

keep going long enough you always get there in the end it’s a marathon not a sprint

but now running through streets which are sunny and serene

sense of total freedom this city is mine and then remember why this sinister beauty exists

a virus that respects no borders, no race, no class it doesn’t care how much money you have or where you come from

it is the great global leveller everybody can get it. Tom Hanks, Idris Elba,  Matt Hancock, Boris Johnson…

but not everybody experences it the same.

BMA raise concerns over ethnic minority doctor deaths to Covid-19

Black people account for 72% of COVID-19 deaths in Chicago while making up less than a third of city’s population, mayor says

COVID-19: massive impact on lower-income countries threatens more disease outbreaks

at least here in the UK now we know who the real key workers are: NHS, social care, delivery drivers, supermarket stackers…

things we were told impossible suddenly are possible

money at the click of a computer button

NHS to benefit from £13.4 billion debt write-off

it’s possible now why didn’t we do it before

Councils told to house all rough sleepers in England by weekend

Chancellor unleashes £350bn bailout to rescue UK economy from coronavirus crisis

it’s possible now why didn’t we do it before

keep running long enough to see what kind of world  lies on the other side

Coronavirus: Only 9% of Britons want life to return to normal once lockdown is over