Why do we run?

Several evenings a week, we move from the desk to the drawers, pull on running kit, lace up trainers and head out the door. Just like that, work becomes leisure; muscles that have sat inert all day are filled with life, lungfuls of fresh air breathed in gratefully.

When so much else has changed recently, running has become a restorative and comforting act. With talk of up to a million new people taking to the pavements in the last few months, there are many people discovering - or re-discovering - its simple pleasures. Exercise has never felt so precious at a time when many are restricted in where they can go and what they can do. More than ever, running has become an escape - from the same four walls of the house, from negative thoughts, from the unpalatable realities of recent months. It feels like running back to one’s true self.

 The rite of the evening run is familiar, even if routes are not. Seeking out the area’s less-frequented roads, wider pavements and quieter trails, enjoying twee suburban houses or sweet-smelling flowers along the way. The act of trying to stay two metres away from everyone, has become a game. All the zigzagging must have added a little extra distance to every session.

Even the fundamental mechanics provide a decent metaphor for everyone’s fulfilment in this period - whether young or old, we have to take things step by step.