Out of our way mister you best keep
Cos summer’s here and the time is right
For racin’ in the street
The summer is indeed here, well according to the Gregorian calendar it is, and if I stick my head out the window, I can definitely make out a distant patch of azure in and amongst the grey clouds and driving rain. British summers: love ’em or loathe ’em you just can’t avoid ’em (unless of course you book a flight to the Balearics).
But summer does bring with it late sunsets and late sunsets bring with them the pleasures of light-filled evening-runs around water-filled holes-in-the-ground. Having strained away all winter beneath the downtown sodium glare of Headingley and Horsforth, Meanwood and Moortown, the advent of British Summer Time presages the return of the restorative respite that is Eccup Reservoir. Eccup Reservoir, home to dog walkers and dogs, cows and calves, twitchers and twits, where the red-breasted, lesser-vested Abbey can feast upon the flies, frolic upon the flora, and fornicate with the fauna (allegedly).
Tuesday evenings have a familiar hue at this time of year, as Abbeys from far and wide skip through the fields and meadows of Eccup, dash around the lapping waters of Eccup, and speed through the hamlet of Eccup. In fact, it is written in the Book of Peter, chapter 4, verse 8, that whenever two or more Abbeys are gathered together within 60 nights of the Summer Solstice that regardless of wherever they start and the direction they take, they will not find a path to enlightenment, but a trail towards Eccup. All roads do not lead to Rome, all roads lead to Eccup, or ecce homo ergo Eccup as Hadrian said when he took a weekend break from building his winter windbreak.
But other reservoirs are available. Summer weekday racing in the streets, in practice, often means journeying to the shores of Lake Esholt, Loch Swinstey and Lac du Fewston. In this respect, we have it good compared to our soft southern counterparts because we have reservoirs filled to the brim with water just waiting for us to run round and round. Pity the poor South of England runner, who has, in his drought-ridden village of burnt-thatch cottages, parched lawns and unwashed cars, nothing more than a small pond populated by two dehydrated ducks to circumnavigate. The Eccup 10 is measured in miles, the Medway Meander is a point to point race between the paddling pools of numbers 12 and 14 Acacia Drive.
So, although down South they may have more jobs and more money, up North we’re faster and fitter because we’re the ones who can run in the summer because we’re the ones with all the water!