Jessica Bellamy



Reasons not to take up running:

  • Only runners run, and you are not a runner
  • You get puffed walking up that hill in Pascoe Vale; who do you think you are trying to run?
  • Why choose an exercise that prevents you dawdling over flowers? What’s wrong with you?
  • And also: why take up an activity that makes you breathe harder, in a dense city filled with paranoid people, during a pandemic spread by the respiratory system?


Reasons to begrudgingly try running:

  • When it’s just you and your neighbourhood, month after month, what’s there to dawdle over anymore? You’ve walked past the dahlias, you’ve seen the budding daffodils, you’ve sniffed the springing jasmine. You’ve done it. Run further. See more.
  • Gyms are closed, for ever and ever it feels, so there’s no treadmill to do a five minute burst of action, and no weights rack to feel strong and capable, and lifting the same kettle bell day in, day out, is not cutting the mustard this far into lockdown.
  • Running is the one activity you can do without a mask on. That’s right: delicious outdoor life, gulping in the air, unbarred.


Reasons to taper off your running:

  • Running is the one activity you can do without a mask on. You feel guilty. You ask yourself, “am I running too slow to be mask-less, really? Is this more of a jog, or even—shock, horror—a power-walk? Am I taking liberties, being a bad example, in a suburb that’s simply too packed with people, too close to clusters, to risk anything?
  • You hate the way that other runners huff past you, mask-less and without any distancing. It makes you suspicious of all people besmirched with the name ‘runner.’ Who wants to join that crew.
  • Running is an odd form of self-improvement, of attempting the impossible, of what Coach Bennett—for all the Nike Run Club fans out there—calls flying. Who wants a lofty, magical goal right now? Isn’t excitement reserved for a glimpse of sunlight in Sunday pressers, and a box of cake mail arriving at your door?


Reasons to try running again:

  • I mean, you’ve got a weekend to fill.
  • Also, the world needs good runners.


What does a dream run look like?

  • Nobody nearby, to breathe on, or breathe in.
  • The ground firm and solid, un-besmirched by Melbourne’s soggy spring.
  • Running free until you want a break,
  • Guiltlessly pausing to grab your breath,
  • Gustily drinking from a public bubbler,
  • Languishing on a park bench.
  • Slow stretching on your walk home.
  • Whipping out your phone for a triumphant post-run selfie: your chest thudding, blood drumming, and your smile visible and gleaming—a shard of unbroken light.