Posts Tagged ‘running’

wishing

Posted: January 5, 2020 in poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

the runners gather in the field
like the herd of cows who
stand watching them wishing
they were free to run
over fields and moors

calling stars

Posted: January 3, 2020 in poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

stars called to them
guiding them over
bleak, black moors
back to warmth and life


A short story of my little adventure yesterday.

It starts fine my run round Midgely Moor. I feel good and I’m running well. I’m alone on the moors and I’m enjoying it. I follow the route up and over High Brown Knoll, down to Warley Moor Reservoir and up the bog following the fence. Then it all goes wrong, very wrong. I climb over the stile and head for the stones at the top of the moor. Except that today I can’t see them because the fog has descended on the moor and the layer of grey mist is all there is here. I think I’m following the right path, I see some stones and head for them believing I am on the right path. But I’m not. I walk around the moors for 5 long miles through ankle deep water and knee high tussocks getting more lost and confused with each step. I hear voices but cannot see anyone. Are these the voices of the dead who got lost on these moors and come out when the fog hides them? I pass the stones again and realise I am alone on the moors, lost in a blanket of fog with only the voices of the dead calling out to me. I keep seeing a path only to get close and realise it’s just grass of a different colour. Is this it I wonder? Is this where my life ends alone on the moors, exhausted, confused, scared. I pass the stones again and head in a straight line, it’s my only hope of getting off the moor. I come out of the fog and I can see where I am as the air clears around me. In the distance I can see a path, this is much clearer than the others. I head over the moor and finally get to the path. I can get home now back to the warmth and safety of my home and away from the moor that wants to eat me up.


it is cold and dark
street lights struggle
to penetrate a mist
hovering above the road
i am warm, a burning fire
in a block of ice
one foot follows another
red hot rods of
pulsating energy made of
sinew, muscle, blood, life
creating a sense of togetherness
with the world
a feeling of being
at one with nature
mind and body as one
in effortless motion
allowing me to appreciate
the simple act of running
that is denied to so many

autumn running

Posted: September 14, 2019 in poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

last week it was warm and dry
no wind, no rain, no mud
i ran free with ease
leaping over rocks
flying down embankments
soaring over hills
splashing through streams

in a blink summer has gone
and autumn is here
today the air is cooler
a lighter shade of blue
puddles of mud appear
the wind is coming back
together with cold, crisp air

soon blues will be replaced with greys
clear skies with overwhelming darkness
dry, hard trails with
thick layers of mud
puddles will litter the paths
as leaves dance in the wind
and the autumnal opera begins


pulling the curtains back i see a runner
flowing effortlessly past my window
with pace, poise and grace
longingly looking on, wishing i could be out there
turning i twist my knee a reminder of why i’m inside
pain deep inside my knee that struggles to support my weight
tightness in my calf makes it difficult to bend my leg
they remind me that i’m an injured runner
frustrated, annoyed, irritated
about my powerlessness to be able to run
at my inability to be able to do anything about it
apart from rest, wait and hope i can be out running soon


It’s the night before another fell race and I’m sat here feeling sick and nervous at the thought of tomorrow’s race, the Mythholmroud fell race. Why though? It doesn’t make any sense. I’ve run this race before and know the area fairly well. I’ve run races before including plenty of fell and trail races so I know what to expect, tough climbs, mud, cold water, more mud and cold water and a horrible descent before I can get back to the warmth of Mytholmroyd community centre. So I know where I’m going and what to expect. So why do I feel sick and nervous? I’m not fit at all. Overweight, slow, carrying the usual niggles that every runner seems to carry so no chance of winning or even coming in the top thirty. Even if I was fit I still wouldn’t have a chance so that’s another reason out of the window but it doesn’t explain why I feel sick and nervous. In the end all I can do is assume that it’s just a natural thing to feel nervous before a race, part of the process of preparing yourself mentally to run and do your best on the day. There doesn’t have to be a reason, it’s just one of those things that you can’t control. So yes it’s another sleepless night of worrying unnecessarily over something I can control and I know what I have to do but I still worry and I always will.


I’ve gone past him again on the hill, heard him breathing hard as I went past and then silence as he fell behind me. I push on downhill, nervous in case I fall, concentrating hard so I don’t, watching out for ruts and stones ready to rise up from nowhere and trip me up. I go faster and then faster still. I’m at my limit and then I hear his breathing behind me, feel his breath on my shoulder. No need to turn round, I know he is there.

I go faster, up the stakes, take more risks, the land beneath my feet now a blur, my only thought ‘if you’re going to beat me you’re going to work for it’.

We race like this for two miles, two people unwilling to give in, unwilling to give an inch, unable to slow a fraction in case the other detects it and senses that the moment has come for them to make their move.

Eyes focused intently on where we are going, running as nature intended, no thought put into it now, this is not the time for thinking, this is the time for doing.

A small uphill, I push hard, increase the pace and he is gone. The sound of his breathing recedes in the distance, hot breath replaced by cold air. He is gone, I have won this personal race within a race and now as my legs begin to ache and tire I slow down slightly and look forward to the finish.


It starts with a run on a familiar road, a road I’ve run before. I approach a stile, the stile I glance at as I run past. But this time I turn, approach the turn stile and climb over it. Wild, open moorland stretches out before me, a narrow, baked, mud track, twist and turning its way through the moor and over the horizon. I follow the track cautiously. Experience has taught me to respect the moors with hidden dangers underfoot ready to catch out the unwary and over confident.

Past a farmhouse on my left I send sheep scurrying in all directions, my movement and noise enough to scare them. Down a ditch, over a plastic bridge, I step over and round stones and rocks that have lain there long before I set foot on this moor.

And then the horizon changes as I begin to descend and the valley before me opens up. Fields of straw burnt from the heat of the sun, the tops of trees motionless in the warm air punctuated by the greyness of tiles made from Yorkshire slate, for now the only sign that man has made his mark on this land.

Down I go, through an old wooden gate, across a road, through a garden and past a sign that says beware of the bull. Warily, cautiously I look around before picking up speed to clear the danger zone as quickly as possible. The thought of two tons of bone and muscle terrifies me.

The field ends and the track goes through some woods, this is harder, more technical, more rocks to be careful around as nettles and thorns sting and cut my skin. They remind me that I’m human ant there will be only one winner if I fall.

I reach another road, one I did not expect and run to another stile where the hard work really begins. Up and up and up through reeds almost as tall as me, obscuring the ground below me which despite being a hard baked mud trail has steps made of wood laid into it at irregular intervals. I slow to a walking pace, it is more important to be careful then fast. I leave speed for another day.

Up and up the steps I go as they get steeper and harder to see. Every horizon is false revealing yet more steps to climb. In my mind I start to believe that this climb will never end and I will end up at the gates of heaven, but then it does and as I stop to get my breath back I turn round and take in the beauty of my surroundings. If this is heaven I can stay here for all eternity. Mile after mile of valleys and moorland. For me this is perfection.

And in the distance at the top of the moor is my destination, the white pillar signifying the trig point of the moor, the high point. There’s still some climbing to do, but with the trig point in sight it makes it a bit easier. The path has returned to dusty, dry trail. Still with stones and rocks to watch for but now with no reeds to obscure the view.

At the trig point I stop to take in my surroundings. The views are far reaching. I recognise places that down on the valley floor would seem miles away. I see a church steeple and know what church it is. So high up when down below. For now  am higher that it. I see other landmarks through different eyes, reservoirs of shining water, tower blocks sprouting from the earth and the folly that dominates this landscape. With the folly always in view you can never get lost in this glorious land of valleys and moors.

And then it’s the run for home. Down the path I have just come up but this time with a turn to the left at the bottom and along the conduit that should carry water to the reservoir but has nothing but warm, hard stone showing its face for the first time in years to a clear blue sky.

Down to my right is the forbidden land of Castle Carr, resplendent in a tree leaves and grass of the deepest green that stands out like a lake on mars. I wonder if all the water has been diverted here to keep this small patch of moorland alive at the expense of other parts…

But I need to concentrate on the path before me or  may fall in the conduit and give it an unwanted kiss. I plough on pushing myself as hard as I dare, wanting this flatness to end and be back on the ups and downs of the hills that I love and inspire me to better myself, push myself and be the best I can.

And after what seems like hundreds of miles I turn and I am faced with the final run in to home. A reservoir that shines like molten silver under the gaze of the brightest star I know. My eyes are temporarily blinded by the brilliance of its beauty as it reflects he suns rays into my eyes and I have to gather my thoughts and push on to the other side.

A short climb, a stretch of sticky tarmac and I am back at my car. It’s been hard work but worthwhile just to experience the sensation of running in some of the most beautiful land in the world.


If anyone would like to buy Rachel’s book, Running For My Life, here is a link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Running-My-Life-built-better/dp/1911274848/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517665539&sr=8-1&keywords=rachel+cullen