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RUN AWAY WITH ME

Running can provide peace of mind, freedom and, every so often, romance. Michael Donlevy meets the couples who hotfooted their way into each other’s lives

RUNNERS IN LOVE

Your eyes meet over a park bench. You’re both sweating, panting and stretching out after a hard session, and your slightly bleary gaze lingers for what might be considered a fraction too long – if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s being returned by a pair of equally weary eyes.

“Do you run here often?” you ask.

“No, but I will do now…”

It might sound like a cliché, but many couples do meet over a shared passion for running rather than a water cooler at work, and running can provide like-minded people with an introductory service that’s far more effective and long-lasting than a dating app.

“I met Rob at a free social running group put on by Runners Need in north London,” says Ashley Scott of her now husband. “I was new to London – and England – and had just come off of being an athlete at the University of Tulsa. I was searching for groups in the area so I could run with people and hopefully make a few friends.

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About Men's Running

When I first started at MR – a fresh-faced graduate with fully functioning knees – I ran to keep fit. Did I do it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? No. Fast-forward two years and things are a little different... 2016 saw me run my first marathon, my first ultra and – the natural progression – my first 24-hour track race. People talk of the running bug, but this was a full-scale pandemic. In the months that followed, though, I got lazy. The thought of running elicited a vacant stare, a memory of plodding round a 400m track at three in the morning, and the muttered words, “You weren’t there, man.” So, resolved to refind my running mojo in 2017, I signed up to a race, the Brixton 10K (p94), in the hope that it would spark me back to life. And, along with providing depressing confirmation of just how much slower I’ve got, it certainly did that; the post-race feeling reminding me just why I fell in love with running in the first place. For many, though, running’s true benefit lies not in racing but in the adventures it brings. In our lead feature this issue (p46), photographer James Carnegie leads us on a whistle-stop tour of Northern Ireland to prove that, with just a little planning, a day is all you need to run some of the finest routes the UK has to offer. You may not find me scrambling up the Mourne Mountains any time soon, but you will find me running again. Here’s to getting back on track in 2017.