Familiarity Breeds Content / Contempt!

Conkers parkrun non-run run report - October 24, 2020

Possibly my favourite thing about parkrun is that wherever you go, it is always the same. Same start time, same distance and although the faces may be different, they’re always just as welcoming and friendly. I’ve ran 216 parkruns and whether I’ve been boiling to death in Washington DC, getting pelted with hail in Edinburgh, finding Conkers runners while on my own in Berlin, or participating in either of the 2 parkruns I consider ‘home runs’, it’s always a little piece of routine and familiarity. Routine and familiarity are however, things I have come to resent in the past few months and especially in the past 10 days.

While many of you will know me as a member of the famed Kirkwood Clan, or as that ginger that’s often-found unconscious at the end of the course, I am also a 2nd year student at Nottingham Trent University. If you have been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that Nottingham Is currently the Covid Capital of the UK and living on the edge of the city centre, it was only going to be a matter of time before I had to isolate. Therefore, when I woke up on Sunday 11th with a tight chest and a banging headache, it wasn’t that surprising when 2 days later my Covid test came back positive.

On one hand, this meant I was finally able to utilise the joke that has been plaguing me since the virus first appeared, and announced to my family and friends that I was officially Corona by name, Corona by nature. Yet on the other hand, it meant that my five housemates and I were stuck inside for the foreseeable future.

On around night 3 of our lockdown with a week still to go, we all sat in our hallway and each made a list of things we wanted to do when our 10-day isolation was over. Everyone’s list included things like talking to people outside of our household, eating in a restaurant, even going shopping at the Aldi down the road, which suddenly sounded like a thrilling adventure. I was the only one however that included the extra point that what I really wanted to do, was go for a run.

Back in March when we first went into a national lockdown one of the only things that kept me and I’m sure many others sane, was the government issued 1-hour daily exercise. My mum makes the joke that because we don’t have a dog, she had to ‘walk the teenagers’ referring to the daily walks me, her and my brother would go on when we got bored of being stuck inside for hours. When you are locked down with the virus however, you are completely stuck within the four walls of your house. Suddenly instead of 5kms, I was counting the five steps from my bed to the bathroom or the five staircases down to the kitchen. I wasn’t even allowed to walk down to literally the end of my street in order to see the new Banksy piece in person!

I was able to keep myself busy though. Not one for being beaten by any illness or do the normal thing of taking it easy till you recover, I started multiple craft projects including sewing a skirt, teaching myself to crochet and making origami out of coke cans. I also had to attend my online lectures and sit through £9,000 worth of PowerPoints and zoom calls which froze every 5 seconds due to the strained WIFI that was trying to cope with 6 students all attempting to navigate the joys of online learning.

So, as you can imagine I was counting down the day until I was allowed out of the prison that my student house had become, and of course get to do that run that I had been dreaming of. That day of freedom was Wednesday. I got up, dug my running trainers out from the bottom of my wardrobe and headed out towards the start line of my term-time home parkrun, Forest Rec. In hindsight, I may have been a bit eager as it turns out just because the infectious period of my Covid was over, the tight chest and breathing issues were not going to go away as quick. I got around 2km in before I had to walk due to not being able to breath. I came back to my house, had one of my signature post run lie downs on the doorstep and was greeted by my housemate who asked me ‘Was it worth it?’. From my position on the floor of the hallway I was able to give her a thumbs up because, even though it wasn’t my most successful run of all time, it was a little reminder of that parkrun routine and familiarity I hope will return again for us all soon.

Rebekah Corona Kirkwood x