Category Archives: music

119. Schönbrunn, Vienna

There’s always the sun
The Stranglers, October 1986

As I wake in my hotel in the eastern city suburbs at 7 am, I can still hear the strains of the Viennese Boy’s Choir departing from their programme to sing ‘Jerusalem’ at last night’s client reception. I can still picture the grandeur, imperial opulence and enormous chandeliers of Vienna’s Coburg Palace.

schonbrunn-palace-vienna.jpg
Continue reading

116. London is Olympic – The London Marathon

1. London is Olympic – 21.04.2006

The London 2012 film and music were playing at the Expo last night, reminding me that Sunday will see the first marathon in this newly Olympic city of ours.

And inspiration for the marathon start line just doesn’t get any better than this.

london-olympics-2012-heather-small-proud.jpgI look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind

I step out of the ordinary
I can feel my soul ascending

I’m on my way
Can’t stop me now
And you can do the same

Heather Small – May 2000

Continue reading

110. The hands that built America – Houston skylines

houston-skylines.jpg

Oh my love
It’s a long way we’ve -come
From the freckled hills
To the steel and glass canyons
U2 – November 2002

My watch says almost midday, and still I’m waiting for the sun to come up. I’ve been sitting in my hotel room for a couple of hours already, wide awake and yet bleary-eyed with jet-lag, but a glance out of the window and across the freeway shows a resolutely dark sky over the plains beyond The Loop.

Oh well. There’s no point in waiting any longer. I chuck on a T-shirt and shorts, lace up my shoes, trot out through the lobby and hit the sidewalk running.
Continue reading

109. Happiness, more or less

river-wey-navigation-and-newark-priory.jpg

Happiness – more or less
It’s just a change in me
Something in my liberty
Oh my mind

Happiness – coming and going
I watch you look at me
Watch my fever growing
I know just where I am

Well, how many corners do I have to turn ?
How many times do I have to learn ?
All the love I have is in my mind
The Verve – September 1997

The runner’s high. Goodness knows, I’ve sought it long and hard recently. I’ve waited long enough.

Some would argue that it’s exercise-induced narcosis which keeps us running in the first place. But I know that’s not true. Because whilst I appreciate the benefits of running, and a certain post-run clarity of thought is up there on my list, there really is much more to it. You can’t manufacture those moments – they just happen.
Continue reading

106. A Highland reel – Pitlochry, Perthshire

pitlochry-mountains-snow-perthshire-scotland.jpgTwo thousand miles
Is very far through the snow
I’ll think of you
Wherever you go
The Pretenders – 1995

It wasn’t all of Chrissie Hynde’s two thousand miles, not quite, but it felt like a very long way as I drove back from Pitlochry last week.

Five hundred and eleven miles. An intriguing distance – more or less an entire marathon training programme, packed into eleven hours. And covering a similar range of emotions, perhaps.

Continue reading

101. The sun’s gonna shine – Abingdon Marathon

Don’t know why you’re so blue
The sun’s gonna shine on everything you do.
Ocean Drive – The Lighthouse Family 1996

abingdon-and-radley-oxfordshire.jpg

The best of times, the worst of times. Well, it was neither of those. My 4:15 today places 4th in my all time top 6 (er, the only 6) marathon performances.
Continue reading

97. Only scars carved into stone – a summer 20 miles

Your sun so bright it leaves no shadows
Only scars carved into stone
On the face of Earth
U2 – March 1987

If I think hard enough, I can probably remember each and every one. Not just my marathons, each of which are easy enough to recall, but the long runs which go before, which form the basis of any training campaign. Those twenty-milers which lie at the far end of all those long weeks of running.

20-miles-per-hour.jpg
Continue reading