Running in 2024

A project to collate one photo from each day I’ve gone for a run during the year.

1 January. Sizewell parkrun. First visit for Lucy, and a course PB for me.
3 January. Mason’s Lane, Woolpit. After Storm Henk, a good few branches on the paths and some water in the usual places. With sunrise still after 8, a 5.3km run on pavements, starting with the head-torch.
4 January. Flight of Peace sculpture, Bury St Edmunds during an 8.3km run around the perimeter of Rougham Airfield with Brindley and Rory before sunrise. The sculpture is in remembrance of the US airmen based at Rougham who flew B17 Flying Fortress bombers on 325 missions between 1943 and 1945.
5 January. Lyndhurst and the Old Post Office in Woolpit, during a 6km run initially in the dark and rain but easing to just drizzle. Built as one house in the early 16th century and later split into two. This was the Post Office when we moved to Woolpit, but that has now moved to the nearby Co-op.
6 January. Lucy on the prom at Felixstowe during a new 10km PB run for her incorporating Felixstowe parkrun. I had a brisk (24:50) parkrun, then ran back to find Lucy and ran in with her, then while she continued on for the remaining 5km, I took her finish token and got it scanned, caught up with her, and we ran most of the rest together before I made a short diversion near the end to the car for warmer clothes, to reunite just before the finish line. About 30 seconds knocked off Lucy’s personal best time, and her London Marathon prep continues to go well. We retired to the Boardwalk café for a small celebratory breakfast.
7 January. Cherry Tree Farmhouse, Blacksmith’s Lane, Earl Stonham, during a 15km circuit from Stowupland through the Creetings and the western edge of Earl Stonham. The timer-framed and plastered building dates from the early or mid 16th century, with a late 16th-century extension.
9 January. Part of the former Swan Inn in Woolpit, during just over 5km around the village on a chilly morning before dawn. The front of the building dates it as from 1826. Stables were through the elegant carriage arch on the right. This was usually a very quiet pub when we first came to the village, and unsurprisingly is no longer a pub.
10 January. The former A14 (and before that the A45) at Haughley Bends, now a cyclepath and a good place for a 6km run on a freezing morning in pre-dawn light. This was the original route of the A14/A45 and then became the twisting and unsuitable eastbound carriageway when the road was dualled, before being bypassed entirely when the new route around the Bends was opened in 2008.
11 January. The Skechers end of the massive 8-hectare distribution warehouse, that opened in September 2021, during a 5km run with Brindley – near the end catching up with Lucy and Rory also out for an early run and dodging the Amazon lorries. The warehouse is in Rougham though in practical terms on the expanding eastern edge of Bury St Edmunds. The wide tarmac pavements and paths provide a good place for an early off-road outing without a torch being essential. Venus is prominent near the centre but Mercury below and to the left is lost in the pre-dawn colours.
12 January. The Woolpit Institute building, during a gentle 7km around the village while yearning for the arrival of lighter mornings. The gault-brick building dates from the mid 19th century and houses the local museum and rooms for local activities, complementing the more recent Village Hall. The Institute (formally the Woolpit Memorial Institute after the 25 men from Woolpit who lost their lives in WWI) has been there since 1891, before which this was Founders House.
13 January. Muncaster Castle and the drizzly view up Eskdale during Muncaster Castle parkrun . I ran faster than expected and finished 10th – thanks in part to Siobhan and dog Alice for unknowingly pacing me for part of it. The castle has elements from the 14th century but was extensively remodelled in the 19th century.
14 January. The Black Combe range over Moss Houses during a 12km run from Kirkby-in-Furness railway station to Broughton, including crossing part of the Duddon Mosses National Nature Reserve.
15 January. Towards the upper end of Ennerdale during a 20km run from Bowness Knott up the north side of the valley, across the footbridge, and back down the south side. I’m approaching Black Sail Youth Hostel here, with Great Gable ahead, Green Gable to its left and Kirk Fell looming on the right. A glorious and solitary run, chilly but not as cold as expected.
16 January. A bridge just north of Broughton-in-Furness on the route of the former Coniston branch, during a 5km run: it was snowing gently during the run but the heavy snow fell after I was back inside. The railway opened in 1859 and closed to passengers in 1958 and to goods in 1962. This initial section through the cutting I’m just leaving was a fairly steep 1:49 gradient.
18 January. Wray Castle during a 12km run up the west side of Windermere (from the chain ferry to Ambleside). The castle was built in 1840 for a retired Liverpudlian surgeon, James Dawson (no relation that I know of). It has been a youth hostel, offices of the Freshwater Biological Association, a training college for Merchant Navy radio officers (RMS Wray Castle), and since 2014 a visitor attraction under the National Trust. The run was all on either snow or ice, with some exciting fast downhill runs on sheet ice – the spikes worked superbly.
20 January. Lytham Hall during parkrun. Originally I’d been going to go to Silloth to tick off another Cumbrian one, but the weather forecast was awful and indeed it was eventually cancelled due to the weather – along with the large majority of parkruns in the NW. So to Lytham where the rain stopped just as we started. An enjoyable run round the estate grounds followed by an excellent bacon barm in the cafe.

The Georgian hall was built for Thomas Clifton between 1757 and 1764 to the design of John Carr of York.
21 January. Barrow Island across Walney Channel from Walney Island during an 8km run around the central part of Walney Island taking in parts of the east and west shores, and thereby completing for me the England Coast Path on Walney Island. It was breezy on the east side but very windy on the west side as Storm Isha moved in, but I managed to pick an almost dry interlude between the overnight rain and the rain that was forecast to set in for the rest of the day.

Barrow Island is home to most of the docks, and gave its name to the town that is now mostly on the “mainland” – though Barrow Island itself was joined on with land reclamation in the 1860s. Walney Island was in turn linked via Jubilee Bridge which opened in 1908.
22 January. Resorts World Birmingham across Pedigo Lake during an 8km run which involves four mostly uninspiring laps of the NEC car parks and hotels.
24 January. On the Cambridge Guided Busway with Lucy during an afternoon 11.4km run from Swavesey to Impington, her furthest yet as she starts to build distance towards her London Marathon run.
25 January. A rather gloomy picture about 30 mins before sunrise of the drainage pond on the Suffolk Business Park during a 9.4km run with Brindley. I’d been instructed to wear him out, but I’d have needed to be up a lot earlier to do that. This area has the scope to be an attractive green space to break up all the industrial units, with the grass, other vegetation and the large pond, but in practice is rather scrubby and uncared-for.
27 January. A chilly track between Shelland and Harleston on my way to Chilton Fields parkrun as part of a 22km run in total.
28 January. Watching out for geese on the green at Beyton during a surprisingly and encouragingly brisk 12km run after yesterday’s longer outing. The geese have been there since the 70s but are now much depleted in number.
30 January. Drinkstone Lake under grey skies before dawn during a 10km gloomy drizzly run. Sunrise is getting earlier, but oh so slowly!
31 January. “Timbers” in Woolpit, a mid-16th century timber-framed house, during a 7.5km run around the village: the weather remains overcast (a friend gleefully reported a total of three minutes of sunshine yesterday) but significantly less gloomy than yesterday.
2 February. Brindley during a 10.3km run from Stowmarket to Woolpit, leaving the car in Stowmarket ready for tomorrow. There is a somewhat shorter route but today’s version is much quieter when the back road is full of rush-hour traffic which would be on the A14 but for the roadworks, and had more sections where Brindley could be off-lead.
3 February. Timbuktu here we come. We’ll, not quite, but a 14.1km run with Lucy, her longest yet (a third of a marathon) being a run to Stowmarket and then Chilton Fields parkrun. Lucy ran well and accelerated significantly in the last mile – plenty of scope for gradually more distance.
4 February. Whitwell & Reepham Station during 16.2km along the Marriott’s Way, initially along the former route of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway’s (M&GN) branch from the main line at Melton Constable to Norwich City, and then the Great Eastern Railway’s route, both lines finally closing in the 1980s and now providing the pleasant winding footpath from Norwich to Aylsham.
6 February. The Old Bakery in Woolpit, during a run of 8.2km including two lots of fast 2km. The core of the building is from about 1550 but encased in late 18th or early 19th century painted brickwork. It looks great when the foliage comes out in the spring, but I rather like the lights too.
7 February. Drinkstone Lodge during 13km before work including three times up and down the Old Stowmarket Road waiting for it to be light enough to run on the roads. The Lodge is mostly from the early 19th century with some earlier elements. The gault brick encases timber frames.
9 February. Ickworth House across what is usually a gravel drive during 12km around the Park on my birthday morning before heading off for a weekend away. The House was built 1795-1827, originally as an art gallery but the art collection was seized by Napoleon before completion. It was sold to the National Trust in 1998.
10 February. Lucy during Severn Bridge parkrun (which includes Wye Bridge as well), as part of 13km running from the English side to Welsh and back in addition to parkrun itself. Interesting to feel the thrum of the Bridge when a lorry goes past, or the different vibration caused by 300 pairs of running feet.
13 February. Purvis Hall Lane during 19km from Felixstowe to Ipswich.
15 February. Brindley on Shakers Lane during a 7km loop around eastern Bury St Edmunds
16 February. Looking west from the edge of Woolpit towards the Drinkstone Mills during 5km including a fast middle kilometre. The back edge of the overnight rain clouds indicates a better day ahead.
17 February. Northampton Lock on the River Nene during a 29km run incorporating University of Northampton parkrun (run gently but with a sprint finish) and then continuing east to Wellingborough and Irchester Country Park. The lock originally dated from 1761, and is the uppermost on the river, after which upstream boaters take the Northampton Arm of the Grand Union Canal to continue to gain height.
18 February. Sybil Andrews Academy during a very wet 6km run with Lucy. Sybil Andrews was an English-Canadian artist, born in Bury St Edmunds: she initially trained as a welder during World War I, returning to the role in WWII when she helped produce warships, but is more widely associated with her printmaking and is best known for her modernist linocuts. The Academy opened in 2016.
23 February. Addison House in Woolpit during an experimental 2.5km seeing how my right leg felt after it reacted very badly to Sunday’s run (the primary injury presumably being a day or two older than that). This was “Addison’s” when we moved to Woolpit, housing a little convenience store, but is now a private house. Most of the building dates from the early 16th century.
24 February. Lucy and Claire at Harwich parkrun, a last gentle outing before Lucy’s first 10-mile race tomorrow. I ran the 5km at a moderate pace, and followed up with another 2km afterwards – my leg isn’t entirely happy but it’s a lot better than on Sunday and Monday.
27 February. A view for posterity of the t-junction at the end of Wrights Way during a gentle 5km around the village. The scene is shortly to become three months of roadworks as it is transformed into a roundabout to accommodate the new housing opposite.
29 February. One of the two Drinkstone mills (and the associated Mill Cottage) during my standard 6.5km loop to that village and back through Woolpit. A former smock windmill, it is believed to date to the late 18th century, on the site of an earlier horse mill. The sails, fantail and original wind-driven machinery were removed by the early 20th century: power for the final phase of operation was provided by an oil engine installed in 1932.
2 March. Belvoir Castle during parkrun there. The castle is a faux historic castle dating from the early 19th century; the grounds make for a lovely parkrun course, albeit that the castle itself is rather hidden away when close. I followed this with a further 6km run along part of the Grantham Canal, timing it just right before the heavy rain arrived.
6 March. Hadleypark Lock on the Trench Branch of the Shrewsbury Canal during a subzero misty 6km run. This was the original main line of the canal from Trench to Shrewsbury but became a branch when the long link to Norbury was built. The canal was officially abandoned in 1944. It’s a shame to see it looking so neglected in what could be a delightful urban park setting.
7 March. The Old Rectory in Drinkstone during an 8km misty loop.
8 March. Early morning on a 5km circuit of Woolpit.
9 March. The prom at Clacton: parkrun and an extra lap, followed by great breakfast and chattage with friends at the Greensward Cafe.
11 March. The Meade during a 10km run through Drinkstone Park, my longest for a while as leg continues to recover.
13 March. A high Black Bourne after yesterday’s rain passes under the road in Drinkstone during an 8km run.
14 March. A yawning Brindley on Tot Hill (the old A14/A45 near Haughley) during a 6km run.
15 March. Tree on Pykotts Way (a recent name, and “Way” feeling odd for a rural lane) during a gentle 5km loop south of Woolpit, tapering down before Sunday’s long run.
17 March. Milton Keynes Festival of Running. Lucy after her first half-marathon (incorporating a 10-mile PB) and me after the 20-mile race (knocking 8½ minutes off my PB, despite a leg injury constraining my training). We both found the uphill finish a real challenge but still a great day – onwards to our respective marathons.
19 March. Beautiful morning across the fields towards the Drinkstone mills during a 5km leg stretch – a little achy after Sunday but no problems.
20 March. A somewhat diminutive sign, but nice nonetheless for Drinkstone to welcome me during a 6.5km loop this morning. Legs were very stiff beforehand but I did lots of stretches and they soon loosened up once I was out.
21 March. First full day of astronomical spring, and a good morning for a visit to the King’s Forest with Rory and Brindley for an 8.2km run – still a chilly nip in the air.
22 March. The pond at Grange Farm, Woolpit Green, during a 5.4km loop around the village.

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