To cope with the red wine induced aftermath of the work Christmas Do, I decided not to run the 100th Eastbourne Parkrun with all the other Santas and their little helpers on this glorious morning.

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Instead, I would just go for a nice and easy 90 min run over the Downs in the afternoon. It would be hilly, and since the weather had deteriorated, it would be windy over the cliffs. And it was.

It was going ok, nice and easy. But by the time I was half way round the loop I had in mind, I was on that slippery slope down the misery cave. Desperately, I was trying to cling onto the beautiful things around me: children laughing, the scenery, dogs playing… Anything.

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Caught up in my own inner monologue, I came to a crossroads and nearly didn’t see the car. Oops! Fortunately, the driver had slowed down, so I dashed across the road, raising my hand to thank her.

Just up the road the car slowed down and waited. The driver rolled down the window. I expected a right telling off, and she would’ve been right. But this is how the dialogue went:

Driver:” Excuse me, but is it possible that we saw you back in Eastbourne?”

Completely, bewildered I managed to say “That is very well possible.”

The driver burst out: “Oh my God! You are so good! That is amazing!”

I mustered the biggest smile I could and thanked her from the bottom of my heart. She didn’t say anything else, just rolled up her window and drove off while I gave her a little wave and soldiered on.

For the rest of my run, I had a big smile on my face. Just like that, she had lifted me from that dark place and I finished my run feeling strong and happy. The sunset I saw was well worth hanging in there.

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Lady in the little red car, you rock! Thank you!

Later on, I started to wonder, why the lady had done what she did. To me, I was just out on a training run, nothing special. Just business as usual. But I sometimes forget, that not everyone is training like I do.

Maybe the lady is a beginning runner, maybe she does fitness classes or maybe she’s not active at all. But I hope that our little encounter did as much for her as it did for me, and that is motivate and inspire.

Maybe she now thinks she can run this far one day too, maybe she thinks, she might try running or maybe she just got inspired to be more active.

I like that thought.

PS: After this I completely forgot time and just enjoyed my running. After 2.5 hours, I arrived at home with a smile.

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