From Brussels to Taunton…

This week has been a good return to training with a busy week of running. I class this as jolly handy as I’ve got 4 weeks and 4 days left until the big event itself!
My title from Brussels to Taunton should first of all, for my generation I hope, invoke the pop classic by the Danish group, Inferno, ‘From Paris to Berlin’.  I think Brussels can take the place of Paris, but I am willing to concede that Taunton may not have the Euro-pop vibe evoked by the German capital.  This mention comes entirely from an impish wish to leave you with an earworm I’ve had going for the whole week.  I’ve included the link so you can easily pick it up…and set me free! 🙂
When the Channel Tunnel opened in 1994, I went on holiday to France with my family in the first year or so.  Being a terribly precious (or was that precocious) little 9ish year old, I walked from Dover to Calais.  I got out of our car, and I walked up and down, and up and down, and up and down the carriage.  Until we saw daylight again in France, I paced that carriage, to the slight perplexedness of our fellow passengers.  But I was very proud, I’d walked the tunnel, don’t you know!
If I’m honest, this still makes me a tiny bit proud to this day, though I try to not to tell too many people.  At 30-something, I’m not sure I can quite pull it off anymore.  I’m really hoping a similar tenacity will kick in somewhere around 18 – 20 miles or so and drag me around the back-end of the Brighton Marathon.  The Eurostar now travels at approximately 295km/hr.  At that rate, the marathon would be a mere 8 minutes and 40 secs. Oh.
Moving on swiftly, would a similar grammatical trick allow me to claim I’ve run from Brussels to Taunton this week?  A quick 2-miler in Brussels with just a little bit of getting lost to a 3.5 mile jaunt along a tow-path in Taunton close to the salubrious industrial estate by Jct 5 of the M5.
I want to explain Brussels and Taunton just quickly, as both were trips for work.  In Brussels we were talking about the best ways to estimate how many women and girls are living in your country who have FGM.  It was an eye-opening conference, in so many ways,  and in part because I met colleagues from Malta, Finland, indeed all over the EU, all of whom wanted to understand how to really make a difference to end FGM.  Though the conference agenda at times wondered its way towards the risk of being called distant from real lives, the questions and discussions kept coming back to reality – so what? Much as  X or Y sampling method might give different results, do either help us end FGM better, quicker, more?  It is heartening to see such a diverse group still manage to focus on what really matters.
And Taunton – FGM, FGM – Taunton, …Somerset and female genital mutilation?  Really?? Well yes, really.  Somerset has an estimated population of over 150 women and girls living with the consequences of FGM.  I know, it isn’t the highest figure in England, but I bet it’s higher than you realised!  Whilst we held our workshop in Taunton, it was open to and attended by amazing mental health professionals from Cornwall to Dorset, so word is getting around that we really can make changes to help.

A little reminder for those of exactly where Somerset really is – we’re simply not talking urban or metropolitan.  Lovely and beautiful, yes, but not necessarily bustling.

Bringing me to the ulterior motive, I’m very grateful indeed for any sponsorship of my marathon effort, with every penny you give going straight to the Divinity Foundation, a Kenyan charity supporting work against FGM including a refuge for girls who run away and need safety.  I’ve been asked to make sure that the link to the sponsorship page is a little clearer, so it is also www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/astrids-marathon
Yesterday was a treat and a day off training and  a break from even thinking about training, as my dad and I went for a day trip to Paris.  Just for fun this time, no work popping up.  Who thinks I’ve grown up enough to manage not to ‘walk the channel’ once again?
IMG_1636

See, I really don’t wear running clothes all the time!

Last week ended with the relief of still being able to get around a 16 mile run through London again, so I am well and truly over that nasty little bug.  With 30 miles clocked over the 7 days, perhaps I will make it round in April.
Strava miles this year: 186
Strava miles last week: 30
Until the big day: 4 weeks and 4 days
Brighton Marathon, 9 April 2017!


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