Saturday, 3 November 2007

I run because I can

It's firework night. Kim plans to come over in the afternoon for us to take the long run round the village (as it turns out, 4.85 miles) during daylight hours, and then come with us to the Swannington firework party - complete with burgers and bangers, of course.

Kim can't make it - work commitments (it's Saturday, woman!!) take over. So off I go on my own. It's a tough route - yes, I know we don't do hills in Norfolk, but there's a slow-but-steady gradient down to Ringland church, which resolves itself on the way back in a series of flat-bits-and-steep-bits that mean the runner doesn't get a break. A slow pace, but I kept at it.

As I approached the final half-mile or so, up another slow-but-definite incline, I ask myself why am I doing this?, and my mind suddenly gives me the reason: because Sue can't.

A brilliant actress and singer, with the biggest heart in the world - I've taken part in several shows with her, and it was always a joy. Sue is terminally ill. A lifetime of (as she put it the last time I spoke to her) "drinking the world's supply of gin" has had the predictable result of wrecking her liver, kidneys and many other bits; the operation she was hoping for can no longer happen, because her immune system and general strength just won't be able to cope. So she's in a hospice, and unlikely to see 2008.

I keep going up that hill, across the churchyard (a gravel path to finish with - oh, great) and into the house. Not bad: 4.85 miles in 53:55. Stretch, water, strip off sweaty gear, collapse in front of PC. Receive email from mutual friend to tell me that Sue died at about eight o'clock this morning.

We go to the firework party. Watching a brilliant display, we know that it's Sue, going out with a bang, and probably giving St Peter a rendition of Broadway Baby at this very moment.

And that's why I run. Because I'm here, and I'm alive, and I can.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Sorry to hear about your friend Sue--and a very moving post, thank you for sharing that.

TK said...

You got a message during your run, before the message in your email; from an an angel on your shoulder.

Thanks for sharing, and I'm sorry about the loss of your friend.