Claremont in lockdown – weeks 1&2

With no club sessions, parkruns or Sunday Runday outings to keep us out of mischief, we are all having to find new ways to exercise, keep fit and get our running fix. As Julie Cross points out: “Claremont’s old motto could well come into its own now: Why Run Alone? All answers please on a virtual postcard…”

However, lots of us have discovered the joys of bunny hops and kangaroo jumps with Joe Wicks and rediscovered pogoing around the kitchen, thanks to Kenny’s daily musical selection.

Also, due to the wonders of modern technology, Virtual Claremont Road Runners has been launched! So although we can’t actually run together on a Monday evening, we can still support each other, compare times, routes and bicker (sorry have a bit of banter) through Strava, Facebook and email.

On Mondays, some have stuck to running around 6pm to keep with the spirit of the club, while others have gone out early to avoid the crowds. Those living in the city have used all or part of well-worn Claremont routes, with the banks of the River Tyne, the Town Moor and Jesmond Dene being ever popular locations. There have also been new wildlife spotting opportunities with deer, woodpeckers and other birds showing themselves in Woolsington woods for Cath, Gill and Tom, while Janet was spotting Fulmars and other seabirds at the coast.

Though other people who are out and about are generally friendly and observing social distancing, there has been great discussion on the runners v dog walkers conflicts. Also, Cath Robson has also given us a new term – MoPpers – to describe middle of the pathers walking 2 abreast “No, it’s fine, I’ll move two meters into a bush so you don’t have to shift a cm!”. So we have new games to play, counting -in Richard Slack’s words – the “Nodders and Wavers”as opposed to the “Miseries and MoPpers”!

Jamie Harding, though, seems to have no trouble avoiding the MoPpers:

“Lucy and I have found our way of doing a run while taking two steps to ensure that we keep to social distancing rules. We go out early in the morning before most people are about. Even if we did see someone, there is no chance of them going within two metres of me when I look like this.”

Another game is “Spot the Claremonter” as our paths cross – hopefully everyone a “Nodder and Waver”!

Nina Jensen has tried to encourage a bit of Strava art, but apart from Arthur signing his signature, we have been a distinctly uncreative lot!  Though we have had some interesting circuits of people’s gardens (Clare McKitterick doing 10K in house and garden!) and Lena Webster Costella’s up and down the street runs are classic! Not to mention Cath showing some creativity with her Harrier League number.

Wednesday intervals have been re-instated with two sessions so far. Richard gave us a plan for doing Baltic Miles in any location. While finding a mile to run and time was not too challenging for most of us, Jamie faced a far more difficult task of helping us replicate Jesmond Dene with a Happy Ending. I am not sure that anybody got it exactly right, but it meant we all had to do something different and make ourselves run up and down a hill!

I think that we have all discovered how much harder it is to push yourself and do intervals alone, but I, for one, am glad that “Virtual Claremont” is encouraging me to do it!

It has been great to hear of far-flung Claremonters joining in on Mondays and Wednesdays. Sumanth Nayak seems to be discovering some nice routes to run near his new London home and Sophie Lamb even wore her Claremont vest to do the Baltic Mile session around Cambridge! In fact, I think Sumanth can be left to have the final word on the social distancing debate:

“I had the Olympic Park virtually to myself today. Very surreal, I quite like it! People are still miserable bastards though. Not a single wave or nod of acknowledgement. And these softies need to toughen up, all layered up in double digit temperatures!”

The weather may be colder in the North East, but the people are warmer!

Tom Tinsley -