I ran to Haggerston today, to drop something off at this guy’s place, a guy whose helping me make a short movie, and then I ran along the Canal towards Islington, up towards Liverpool Road, Upper Street, Highbury Corner, Highbury Fields, and home again. A few weeks ago I came across this cool tumblr site where they were talking about running. There may have been other things, too, that they were talking about, but the post that caught my eye was this running exercise. I think it had to do with writing. Writing about running. Anyway… the exercise was to step out of your house and run without any goal, to run a route you have never run before.
I hadn’t planned to do that today, but that’s what I landed up doing. I ran along Highbury Quadrant and then left onto Highbury New Park, Clissold Park on my left, and then down Green Lanes, Mildmay Road and through de Beauvoir Town and to Haggerston where I met the guy and dropped off what I needed to drop off, like contraband. I felt like a courier, like a runner-messenger crossing the city, no, more than the city, the desert or the Promised Land, carrying news, something essential, something that the people were waiting for.
I love running through the city. On my first trip to England on my own – I was a teenager and about to finish high school – I had one of those Interrail cards and traveled around the country, from Lyme Regis to Ayr, and a few places in between. I don’t think I knew much about Wales back then. I don’t think I even considered going there. One of the first things I used to do when I arrived in a new town – York, Cambridge, Ely, Harrogate (I think I went to the latter two) – was to go for a run, to run through the town like a scout. Back then, and maybe even now, I preferred running to walking. It’s closer to flying. You’re moving through the city, but you’re separate from it, above it. Your movement is not like walking. It’s as if they’re two entirely different ways of moving in the world, not part of a continuum.