Parkrun and gloom

A pastel blue sky. The weekend. I stroll down to my tram stop for the Number 75 heading east. A perilously low hot-air balloon, “Eastland” garish round its girth, flares orange. A raven, seven peewees circling it, feeds off a discarded junk food tray in the middle of my street. No matter how I push at my mind, gloom – a mix of existential dread and personal haplessness – pervades. Sunrise glistening off apartment blocks. Yesterday I forgot to cycle in the afternoon, simply forgot: so much for my Big Year disciplines, I bitch. Work is crushng me. Everyone in my circle talks of domestic chores. And eating and drinking, which also obsess me. I’m two or three kilograms above fitness, which preys on me when I alight the tram and walk the kilometre along the edge of the university to Parkrun’s asembly point. I should go home.

I stay. A great crowd amasses and the scrum at the back blights my first km to 7:03. Next is 6:25 and I resolve to run within myself. Parkrun always brims with enthusiasm and I get caught up, but can’t summon a smile for the photographer. I pass some runners. I’m pipped at the post. 6:43, slower than I’ve run all week, but leaking onto a towel on the tram, blue sky, sunlight, shadows, life returns somewhere inside me. Drained. Back amongst the maelstrom of life.

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