Running In Daddy's Footsteps
Debbie Miller-Wright

Running In Daddy's Footsteps


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Running In Daddy’s Footsteps takes us and its narrator, Debbie Miller-Wright, on a journey, a running story of the transition from youth to experience. Truth, facts, knowledge and emotion all squeezed into part of a lifetime.

The long lane of autumn laid the way to the place I can no longer enter. Late summer was vanishing. Smells of earthly movements and undiscovered secrets in the ground on either side of the entranceway; sun slowly moving round, giving a soft sheen of positive onto the leaves and shiny bark of the birch

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On January 20th 1975, just over a month early, I popped out into the world. A small, anaemic, hairy specimen of ugliness no doubt, tucked away in an incubator. That would serve me right for being impatient and wanting to leap into the world and get started as soon as possible. Nothing has changed.

I was born to my wonderful parents, Graham and Jacqueline Wright and watched over by my big brother, Andrew. I grew up and spent my early life in a small village called, Meadvale, just outside Reigate in Surrey.

As a toddler, it seems that I was more troublesome than my older brother had been, with my Mum having to use resources such as ‘reigns’ when out and about, and a playpen indoors. My Mum would make my brother stand guard over me. I think it’s safe to say that whatever you are like when you are little is a sure sign of things to come in later life.

I still have the urge to escape from my restraints, whether they be physical or mental, just the other day I wrote this whilst out on a 3 mile run.

Long day, early hours sleep deprived

Early rise and cheery smiles

Yearning for that off-the-lead moment

A chance to ponder, think, smile.

Darkness closing in, a wild run at dusk

Dusk swiftly turning into night

The shade crushing my thoughts

Compressing my wonderings into dark daydreams.

Distracted by small lights and flashes

Through the trees the rustle of nature

Rustling damp autumnal rot nurturing the soil

The sound of bubbling water and powerful mill.

Faster, so much faster my feet pounded

The dirty track worn by many others

Faster still, sweat pouring, heart thudding

Smoothing any negative edges, buffing them into simplicity.

Leg, after leg through the now dark

No fear here in nature, peace, yet wild

Craving fed, my wonderings returned

My head back in one piece, at peace once more.


So, from birth I always saw running in the same light. At the start a person doesn’t run, then, that running birth occurs, but just like the birth of a human or animal a process has to occur. We humans are a poor specimen at birth, that old saying, ‘Don’t run before you can walk’ is very true of us, but some animals come bounding out of the womb into reality and are almost able to do anything from such an early age, so let us think of running as a human birth to make it easier!

With the human it works like this:

  •        Crawl before you can walk

  •        Walk before you skip or jog (I say skip; I do it occasionally when I’m bored on a run)

  •        Jog before you can run

In running, there are times where fatigue sets in. Just like growing up, you can’t walk as far as a grown adult, you will tire quicker, so listen to your body. Take it slowly and grow into it.

I’ve had people come to me for run coaching sessions, thinking that when people ‘go for a run’ all they do is just run all the way. I wonder how many of us actually do that? I guess those who only run or run professionally can accommodate this, but in my experience, even the most hardened 'ultra-runners’ will walk some inclines, take a short break at the top of a particularly nasty hill, or even just stop to take in the view. What I want to get across is, as in birth and childhood, if you rush things, if you speed on up to adulthood without a break, without enjoying those childish moments and fun times, what is the point?

Running shouldn’t be a chore, but a thrill, time-out and head-space. It should be challenging, yet fun - otherwise what’s the point?

Start slow, enjoy the progress and take in as many views as possible, capture those moments both physically and mentally and you will never look back.

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