Mike MJ Harris

Plodding Through A Pandemic


Tent pegs of routine - carefully cultivated over the years to provide a shape to life's canvas - ripped up. The flysheet of existence flapping in the roaring winds of Covid and lockdown. Battling to try and anchor life I grasped for a trusty habit, a rusty, cherished skewer, a bedrock of stability - running. With the pandemic clouds roiling throughout 2020 and 2021 I put one foot in front of each other - a familiar process, plodding along through a pandemic, plodding on through life.

Hackney marshes
Regular running spot - Hackney Marshes

New Horizons

With reduced boundaries getting outside was a joy. Running provided new views; a change of scene; a glimpse of nature; a tour of plague ridden, deserted London; a chance to see friends.

As futile or non logical it may of been - keeping fit and feeling the roaring of breath through ones lungs due to exercise felt like standing up, however Canutian, against the oncoming tide of a disease that affected the respiratory system.


Today marks another cancelled Hackney half, an event our running group - Techrunners - have done every year. Other events which provide joy, purpose and structure have been missed - from the weekly park runs to major events such as the London marathon.

The social side has been missing but the lack of going anywhere has been different too. Every run was from home, stretching the elastic band as far as possible then twanging back home again.

Plodding Round

This graphic shows the reduced horizons - 2019 meant regular commutes into town, trips west, south of the river, off to the glorious hills and trails of Epping forest. 2020 meant laps of the marshes, laps of the Olympic park, laps of the Olympic stadium, laps of the marshes, laps of the park, the stadium. Those red blobs on the 2020 graph reflecting the endless circuits and circles: going somewhere but nowhere.

running routes in london 2019/2020
London running routes 2019/2020


There have been many habits and strategies to help with the past year - previously I've written about Paddling Through a Pandemic and Pedaling Through a Pandemic but running has been key not just this year but for many years.

It'll be there through the rest of this pandemic and through whatever life weather is to come.

Sometimes I know why I run. Often I don't. But plod on I will.