Nocturnal Runners

Barry Edge’s latest memoir tells of two nocturnal runners – one chasing the other.

Barry Edge writes…

Because there were few, if any, reputable ‘Health Clubs/Gymnasiums back in late 1960s my athletics training was, to say the least, a tad unconventionala simple formula of one hour runs anytime and anywhere – lawfully, of course.

Nocturnal Runners

Unless I was injured I would train twice a day in and around the suburbs. Weekends would see me training up and down the foothills of Perth’s Darling Range, and sometimes during my holidays I would train in the Desert country near Kalgoorlie. But my favourite place to train was Kings Park, Perth.

Kings Park is approximately 400 hectares (4 square miles) and contrasts a high limestone ridge – named Mount Eliza, a rugged scarp descending steeply to the edge of the Swan River, and one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the southern hemisphere. The scenic drives, picnic spots, children’s playgrounds, treetop walks, lookout tower, restaurant and tearooms add to the splendour that is Kings Park.

Then you have the many nature walks snaking through the heavily wooded areas of the ‘Park which have been well and truly trodden 24/7 by nature lovers, young lovers, keep fit joggers, and athletes.

It had been one of those hot midsummer days and we didn’t have air conditioning back then so I decided, not for the first time, to train later in the evening in Kings Park. By the time I arrived and parked my car next to the Royal Kings Park Tennis Club it was close to 10pm, the night sky brightly lit by the moon and stars, and the temperature had dropped to around 28 degrees Celsius.

It was a simple formula compared to other training back then and since – one hour runs interspersed with short sprints of approximately 100 metres. There was nothing new in this method of preparing for the middle and long distances because the Fins had introduced it back in the 1930s and refined it over time.

So there I was sprinting down one of the many well trodden walks’ when I was sent flying through the air consequence of two young lovers horizontal in each other’s arms. Any thought to stop and apologise was quickly checked when a very angry young man came charging toward me yelling expletives and threatening horrendous injury to my body and wellbeing.

With safety first in mind I headed for the scenic drive that would take me back to the ‘Tennis Club. Trouble was the angry young man was in hot pursuit but disadvantaged because he was half naked and barefoot. Thankfully, he gave up chase once we reached the bitumen road. In my mind’s eye I can still see him disappearing into a copse and back, perhaps, to an interrupted nocturnal activity.

For several weeks after this encounter I trained elsewhere – just in case.

See you later…

Barry Edge
Western Australia
September 15, 2018

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