Manchester. A place I know well having spent 4 years at Uni there. So what better place to revisit during my 50th year run.
But where to run? Past my old halls of Residence? past my old house? or what about down one of the canals to take in the industrial past of Manchester?
My choice was somewhat determined by the hotel choice -the Native Manchester -an old warehouse in the Northern Quarter and one that would have been served, back in the day, by those very canals.
The only problem was that the hotel sits on the junction of several canals. Some of which you are able to run the towpaths past the newly gentrified properties, but some of which end in dead ends where bridges are held up with scaffolding and thus you cannot continue along the path.
I gambled and headed off in one direction but after around 1km two things happened
1. I ran out of canal towpath
2. My Garmin ran out of battery!
OK. Time to regroup. Find my sense of direction and head to the canal that I knew had an intact towpath and that headed to the Ethiad Stadium.
Strava was started on the phone and off I went.
There’s something about running alongside a towpath in an industrial city. You can see the old warehouses that, once upon a time, would have been a hive of activity but now are graffiti covered monuments to the industrial revolution. You run past the old warehouses that are now new and shiny homes for the Millenials of the city. And you run past those that promise to be renovated but perhaps the developer has run out of money, or permission hasn’t been obtained, or demand has dropped off……
Some of these buildings I have known for 30 years and for all of those 30 years there have been plans to renovate that have not yet happened!
Well, as you might imagine, the run was magical. It took me back to my youth. I reminisced in my head about the good times that I had in this great city.
Before I knew it I’d reached the Ethiad – the home of Manchester City – and had turned back to head for the city, and as I headed back towards the city centre, and the hotel, the running felt free and fun.
28 days done.
22 to go.