I don’t know much. Pretty much the only things I know anything about are politics and running. Knowing about politics hasn’t been that useful until recently. Whilst I understand politics I have to admit that I don’t usually pay that much attention to it. I don’t respect anyone who can’t make an argument without the need to belittle someone and that pretty much rules out every MP that there is. The only time running gets political is if someone mentions bib swapping or earphones.
I don’t think that anyone can argue with the fact that hate crime has increased in the past week in this country. I don’t think that there are any more racists than there was before but I do think the outcome of the vote seems to have given permission for the hate to be more overt. I in no way think that every leave voter is racist but the phrase ‘if you lie down with Ukip you’re gonna get fleas’ comes to mind (They literally copied Nazi propaganda, I still can’t get over that). Regardless of how people voted though I think the biggest challenge for this country now is to stop the hate. The police so far have done a brilliant job of reassuring people that they are taking it seriously but everyone needs to stand up and condemn racial abuse.
“It’s not about me, it’s about us” – Tour of Merseyside motto
I’ve been thinking also of what brings people together. In three days the Tour of Merseyside will start. It’s six races, 52 miles over seven days (although I’m doing nine races, 87.6 miles over nine days). There’s around 200 of us who take part and it’s very much a community feel. Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, whatever, we all come together and support each in order to get through the challenge. By the end of the 7 days there’s a bond between you all, so much so that some people start wearing Tour tops instead of running club tops for races after the Tour. It think a lot of this is down to a mutual respect for each other, knowing that we have all fought the same battle and got through it. I think it’s very similar for all running too. I personally don’t know of anyone who runs in the same race as a super-fast Kenyan and thinks that they should be sent ‘home’ so that a slower ‘British’ man can win. We’re too busy being in jaw-dropping awe at how amazing they are whilst respecting their incredible ability. I’m not saying there are no racist runners, there probably are, but I don’t think any runner watching Hicham El Guerrouj run the fastest mile wouldn’t think it was any less amazing because of the colour of the man’s skin or what religion he might follow.
So maybe then, an understanding of common interests and passions are the way to make people less racists. If you took the man being abused on the Manchester tram and the three men committing the hate crime and sat them down together then they might discover that they all love World of Warcraft, or Pizza, or Mila Kunis, or them little Japanese trees. The point is that there is more that connects us than divides us. I don’t think runners have a monopoly in human decency, I just think they just understand unity more. This is why I think the running community is one of the most friendly and supportive communities that you can be a part of (regardless of if you think people should wear earphones or not).
Lots of new runners get scared of the Tour, it’s pretty daunting if you’ve never done anything like it before and I was terrified myself last year. I tell them to stop worrying about time and ability, they’re about to become part of the most amazing family who will help to get you through. It’s no surprise that the last place runner of the Tour gets flowers and just as much celebration as the winner, that’s just how the Tour family rolls. So much so that I don’t think many members of the North West running community can forget that video from 2014 where a large number of runners went to join a lady named Wendy on the final stretch of her last race to show that there is no loser on the Tour. It’s also the reason why many of us signed up for the next year and part of the ethos that now makes the race sell out in a short space of time.
So anyway, I’m about to commence on a busy week starting with a marathon on Saturday and then the Tour. By the end of the nine days I should be on 668 race miles for the year and proud to be a Tourist once more.
#Lovenothate Fight racist abuse. If you don’t stand against it then you’re part of the problem.
Love to everyone.
Bring on the Tour.