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A Sense of Timelessness

Julia ChiAs we left the campus of the University of Bath yesterday, Bill Valentine, who was the course director for the Masters National Cross Country Championships called to Anadi… ‘Look after her; don’t let her go astray…’

We all laughed and then he added… ‘Actually that’s too hard a job…!’

I first met Bill in 1982 when I moved to Bath to get married to Nige… I remember him then as a ‘character’ with long flowing sandy hair and bright blue eyes… His hair is still flowing and long, but white now, instead of sandy; his eyes still have that bright blue twinkle in them…

Bill’s words were received as humour, with humour… I am not unaware however, of the stories about me, coming from the way others perceive I have lived my life…!

We laughed some more and wandered out into the sunshine… Cathy, Gail and I had just won the team gold in the 45 – 54 age group, but had yet to be honoured as there had been a muddle up with working out the teams…

Tom, Cathy’s husband who is our wonderful team manager, has subsequently established that we won the event by one second!

The five of us, Cathy, Tom, Gail, Anadi and I had been sitting very companionably together in the sports complex cafe, waiting for the medals to be presented…

I was awarded an unexpected bronze in the over 55’s, with a run that demonstrated I am finding some form.

It was a very good day indeed.

The morning had dawned bright and shining with possibility; crocuses and daffodils springing from the hedgerows… The Cross country course was marked out around a very big grassy patch of land very familiar to me…

I covered many many miles up at the university ‘back in the day’, and now I was here again…

I loved the race… I had no expectation at all and ran faster and freer than I was anticipating.

Tom had instructed us to chase down any runner with number 45 and over on their back…

In the masters races, the age categories all run together, but score separately and I had a moment of inner amusement when I enjoyed creating a ‘situation comedy’ in my head as I ran…

The idea came to me when I couldn’t see the number clearly on the back of the woman I was chasing, and had a sudden image of the ‘master runners’ all reaching for their glasses to check who they were meant to be competing with!

I found the whole day inspiring and heart warming… I loved being in a team with Cathy and Gail who I consider my friends, even though we meet infrequently, and only at race venues, and I love Tom being our team manager…

He is supportive and encouraging always, and without question gets the best from us all…

It was also great to run past Anadi filming us on each lap, positioned also as a race marshal, because Bill had asked him if he would be willing, as I introduced them…!

Just before the start of the men’s race I saw Nige my first husband, and we had a chance for a quick catch up before the gun fired for the off…

The whole weekend gave me a sense of timelessness, of everything being now…The past present and future all existing in this moment.

I was back in this field, standing watching a race, calling Nige on as he ran by, and I only had to walk a hundred yards to find Anadi…

The 22 year old Julia and the 56 year old Julia were there, one and the same person… And as usual I had just been running around a field in the sun, as fast as I could…

Bill said Anadi had too hard a job keeping me from going astray…

But what is going astray? What does that really mean…?

To stay in one place when my heart called me to leap would feel to be to be more of an act of straying from the path of my soul….

 

 

I have been running all of my life – it feels I was born to run. In the running step I experienced freedom and my true expression. I came to see that I needed to ‘get out of the way of myself’ and let my energy flow through the running step; allow it to express itself in the dance and the motion of running.  I ran for England and GB for some years. My first international was in 1979, a three mile cross country race; and I continued to run at international level until 1993. Two of my best results were first place in the Dublin City Marathon in 1985 and 7th place woman, 3rd British woman in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31, which gained me selection for the Commonwealth Games.

www.runningconscious.com

Mobile: +44 (0) 7866 396 233

Email : juliachitaylor@gmail.com

 

 

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