Sunday March 20th 2020 – 16km run. Home, Greenwich Park, Limehouse Basin and back.
Sixteenth and 21st century timelines colliding. The Queen’s House. The ever-expanding Canary Wharf, wealth rising upwards towards the heavens.
It’s a world which seems faster, harder, more negative than ever with relentless 24 hour news cycles priming us to fight and flight and panic.
Running and raving helps me cope. First of all to 21 Years with Groove Armada Disc 1, celebrating the weekend, the sunshine, harness and project positive energy in a world full of painful contradictions.
And then the iconic, soul shredding house classic Junk Science by Deep Dish for the trip back home. This album circles back to zero point with its shuddering deep bass lines reaching deep into my brain and out into space.
Timeless, floating, endlessly resonating from its launch in 1998 to now:
‘Mohammed is Jesus is Buddha is love is the way I see it.’
‘Stranded in your American dream/ Of a Polaroid lie I have never seen/ I’m living…‘
Music, mirror, reality slide.
‘The future of the future will still contain the past. Time goes slow and time goes fast…’
The final kilometre home was my fatest – the hypnotic house beasts of Sushi giving new life to tired legs.
Beats dropped in the right place at the right time connecting and unlocking hidden energy.
The Thames at low tide. Running through Limehouse, past mud banks, luxury flats and glimpses of a lost dockyard past. I’m listening to the haunting, heartbreaking strains of Agnes Obel’s Familiar.
The sun glints crystals on the water. A sudden mood shift from my running playlist to Erasures’s euphoric Give a Little Respect .
A small terrier barks and rears up. Its lead is nearly choking it, it’s trying to attack a much bigger dog, who stares down at it with benign confusion. Above them, their owners start to trade angry words. A potential war is started, averted when the bigger dog gently nudges his owner who walks him around and away.
The wind chases the clouds and hides the sun. I’m now listening to Dostoevsky and the Russian Soul. As a young man, Fyodor Dostoevsky found himself in front of a firing squad. For 10 endless minutes, he thought he was about to die. His sentence was commuted to hard labour and military service. Dostoevsky’s observations during his time in Siberia, revealing the deep contradictions of our human souls: the peasants, brutish, violent, yet capable of unexpected kindness, the deep rooted fear of ‘the other’; the need to define ourselves by what we are not; Russia is not the West, the West is not Russia.
Nations endlessly going to war. We act against our own best interests in the name of abstract concepts like freedom. And yet at the same time, we are capable of showing great kindness and compassion.
Literature holding a hopeful mirror up to reality.
Our original target was £2,000 to provide weekly tennis sessions in Greenwich Park. Thanks to the phenomenal support from our family, friends, community, the Westcombe News and Blackheath and Westcombe Ward who donated £4,500, we have raised more than four times this amount.
Sharon Brokenshire, MBE, Director and Founder of South London Special League says the extra money will go towards new Powerchairs for Greenwich Powerchair Football Club. (GPFC):
“Greenwich Powerchair Football Club play in the South England Region League and travel each weekend to matches. It is essential we are able to provide modern competitive equipment for our players.
The 10 Powerchairs are getting old and expensive to maintain. A new Powerchair costs over £7,000 and the Marathon money will go towards buying new Powerchairs.
Powerchair Football is a skilful, fast-moving game, enabling physically disabled players to play football at whatever level they desire – at a really competitive level, or just enjoy being part of the game. Many players prior to Powerchair Football lived solitary and isolated lives; the health and wellbeing improvements are enormous and can be seen at every game.”
A huge Thank You to everybody who supported our appeal – every penny is making a direct, positive impact on people’s lives, providing much needed opportunities for our diverse, disabled community of all ages to meet friends, get fit and have fun.
We hope to see the Powerchair team in action one weekend soon. In the meantime, there’s still time to donate to our Marathon Appeal.
Matthew Pennycook MP for Greenwich and Woolwich, visits Greenwich PFC