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Running Through the Year – April

April saw the huge changes to our lives become the new normal as the world battled the COVID-19 Coronavirus. This new normal is one of distancing and isolation from family and friends, a different way of working, a different way of keeping in touch. In part it has become a virtual world, lived out in our homes, but as we see from the daily news briefings, the graphs and the statistics, there is a very real world out there. We are reminded of the heroism and ultimate sacrifice of the NHS staff, the care works and all the others in the frontline of this battle. Indeed, every family has their story, their challenges and has been touched in some way. Against all this it has been inspiring how people and communities have pulled together and innovated to find new ways of supporting and helping each other. So it has also been a month of good deeds, rainbows, painted pebbles, virtual charity events, the amazing Captain, now an honorary Colonel, Tom Moore (we salute you sir!) and a special moment every Thursday at 8pm when the streets are full of clapping and cheering for our brave NHS staff, care workers and other frontline key workers.

The Purbeck Runners are a close-knit community and the members are experiencing the full range of these challenges in their lives. We also share something else, our love of running and never has this been more important. We are rightly encouraged to exercise for our health and mental wellbeing and we are so fortunate to live in the wonderful Isle of Purbeck where we can escape for a moment to stretch our legs and lift our spirits. The Purbeck Runners are a sociable bunch and it has been wonderful how the members have been sharing photographs of their runs and challenges on the club website and using this as a way of keeping in touch. So, for this month’s blog it will be less words and more photographs which I hope will inspire and uplift.

The glorious weather during April has made running through the Purbeck countryside and along the downs and cliffs a wonderful experience. Being out there enjoying the natural world and watching it change as Spring unfolds has been a joy. Thanks to all the members posting photographs from their own local areas we have all been able to enjoy those special places we cannot currently reach. Here is a selection of members photographs from their runs…

Jayne Turnley on 9 Barrow Down4a4859a41fae29a3baaa87db9c55b4ee_lRoss 2 Wild GarlicPaula 193ef25843bdc5b58f8bd2eec4ff2be4eSarah 2f8d01ddd09a104744fc454555884efd93ff34b7557a1e6ba4a425db4557de206_l6b74b7261692445d342596d4c3091c080da8501734916fe0552534e6aefdc8835ebc5be003ac8747b44f5c0fcb066672Abi Donkeys1eac9734c0e5cd33791703d7607bae8679a1df522c302b607ec537ed30d5eb42Aa0b31f23adf922d3171f8fcd1aa98d40

Some members have been making the most of the good weather to get out early and Rose Clarke set herself the challenge to watch the sunrise from Swyre Head. The first very early morning run was thwarted by cloud, but a second attempt rewarded Rose and all of us with a spectacular view.

Rose Clarke's Sunrise from Swyre HeadRose Clarke’s Sunrise from Swyre Head

The rainbow has become the symbol of hope during this crisis and Sarah Colquhoun decided to run with a different colour of the rainbow each day – 7 colours, 7 days and 7 runs. This started quite a thing in the club with other members joining in and soon the website was a kaleidoscope of colour. I clearly need to be more adventurous with my running tops which all appear to be different shades of grey! Great idea Sarah and well done to Abigail Baker who also did the challenge and beautifully brought together all the pictures in one giant collage which is this month’s featured picture at the top. Sarah’s rainbow runs are also shown below with those of fellow Purbeck Runner Beccy Spicer

Sarah Colquhoun's Rainbow RunsSarah Colquhoun’s Rainbow RunsBeccy Spicer's Rainbow RunsBeccy Spicer’s Rainbow Runs

A great variation on the rainbow theme came from Zodwa Chasokela who photographed the flowers she saw on her outings, through Swanage, up to Durlston and along Ballard Down. A selection are shown below.

Wild Flowers on Ballard Down by Zodwa ChasokelaWild Flowers on Ballard Down by Zodwa Chasokela

Not all the action was out in the countryside, with some of it very close to home. Every year the Poole Festival of Running raises money for the Poole Hospital Charity. This year the organising committee came up with the novel idea of holding a Garden Marathon Challenge. Two intrepid Purbeck Runners, Abigail Baker and Rose Clarke completed the daunting challenge, running multiple laps of their gardens and raising money for the Poole Hospital Charity. In total the event raised over £11,000.

Abigail Baker (top left) and Rose Clarke (bottom right) in the Garden Marathon Challenge online collageAbigail Baker (top left) and Rose Clarke (bottom right) in the Garden Marathon Challenge online collage

Even closer to home, indeed inside our living rooms, Club Chair and Coach Paula Lawton-Archer has brought members a series of excellent strength and fitness sessions which she has been filming and posting on YouTube. Specially designed for runners, Paula has been adding new strength and HIIT sessions during the month. It has focused us on doing that essential training which we all probably neglect, so there is absolutely no excuse now for being out of condition when we come out of this!

Paula Lawton-Archer bringing a HIIT Session to your living room!Paula Lawton-Archer bringing a HIIT Session to your living room!

A unique feature in Swanage has been the growing number of wonderful painted pebbles on the sea front which are an uplifting sight to run past. I leave you with a selection of some of them photographed by Zodwa Chasokela.

Stay safe and keep running!


Once again thank you very much to all the club members who have provided reports and photographs that I have used in this article.