VERITY LUSH: A touching moment on a life-affirming run

Last Sunday I took part in a 10km race in Southwick village.

Friday, 25th May 2018, 7:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:50 am
A hot and tired Verity, left, with running pal Anneke

The race, organised by Rural Running, was a belter. Perfectly organised, clearly sign-posted, soul-affirming views, and varied terrain.

Not to mention the stunning piece of bling that one comes to expect from Jeff Clark and the team at Rural Running.

The villagers showed out in force to cheer the runners on, and that support was much-needed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The sun decided to pop out 0.5km into the race, and the conditions became very hot, very fast. A water station that could be visited on the way out and back was much appreciated.

The cross-country part of the race, through Creech Woods, was tricky terrain, and the hills were, as hills tend to be, a challenge, but all that contributes purely to the vast sense of achievement that one experiences upon finishing six hot miles in beautiful Hampshire.

I was running with my friend, Anneke, and we were both really touched when a fellow runner came up to us as we plodded through the woods to thank us.

It transpired that it was her first 10km race and her partner had enjoyed the royal wedding on Saturday with a few too many drinks than is wise before heading off to a race the next morning, so she was running it unexpectedly alone.

Subsequently, she was thanking us purely because we’d provided some form of sweaty company in our own trotting pace, and she had felt able to run along with us.

And this is what I love about running. Runners are in it together. There are so many areas of life where people could take a leaf out of the book of runners.

The support, the understanding, and the empathy for how hideous it can be at times, and how life-affirming at others, leads to a true sense of community.

So, to all you runners out there, whoever you are, a big high five and a huge thank you, with a large pat on the back.

How ever fast, how ever slow, we’re a good lot, us runners.


During the race on Sunday, part of the draw to cross that finish line and get my medal, was the mental image of my two little girls standing there and waiting for me.

They don’t often come to the races that my husband and I participate in, so I particularly enjoy it when they do.

My husband is a speedy runner and usually among the first to finish, whereas I am definitely more about the miles completed, so we balance out nicely. Which is probably a fabulous metaphor for many relationships.

When I run, I am well out of my comfort zone, and I want my daughters to see that. You have to challenge yourself in life, you have to feel fear, because without that, you’ll never achieve a thing.


My running buddy Anneke and I have been through some times together.

And what happens on the long run, stays on the long run.

But that long run is not just the one that we cover with our feet. That long run is the friendship that has spanned over 20 years, commencing on our first day at university together, way back in 1996.

I felt slightly lost and disoriented on my first day, as does many a Fresher, and literally spotted Anneke, a kindred spirit, across the crowded hall.

We were dressed nearly identically and became mates immediately.

This week, Anneke turned 40, and I’d like to wish her a very public and very happy, birthday. May the next two decades be as hilarious, emotional, and fabulous, as the past.