Many of us run for similar reasons. We want to keep fit, get fitter or begin a fitness journey.
We want to lose weight, maintain weight or even gain muscle weight. We want to eat cake, or run away from cake, or avoid cake through temporary social distancing. Perhaps we are training for an event and are honing our skills and abilities through a training plan.
But what about days when the motivation is lacking or you’re just not feeling as energetic as usual? Can there be more to running than, well, running?
For me, a huge personal drive and motivator is history. I have long enjoyed exploring history, be it local or somewhere I visit. In the past I might drive somewhere to explore, take a walk to discover, but now I can run to do it too!
Locally there are a wealth of opportunities to discover history, both Bridgwater’s and that of the surrounding area.
My personal favourite at the moment revolves around relatively local, recent history – the Taunton Stop Line. Simply summarised, the Taunton Stop Line is the line of obstacles and pillboxes set up in the early 1940s as a line of defence against the threat of a German invasion. The pillboxes are the most obvious relic of this time of national military preparation, and can be seen especially clearly along three specific running routes around Bridgwater.
The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal. Dotted along the route from Huntsworth to Maunsel Lock (and further, of course) you run past several well preserved pill boxes, some open to easy access and exploration. It’s always a sobering thought on a trot down the sunny, quiet, picturesque canal to think of how different things were (and felt) 75 years ago.
Pawlett along the Parrett (between Pawlett and Dunball Wharf). Taking a run down onto the Parrett via the West Of England coast path you pass several more remote pill boxes, standing strong in their 1940s positions along the river despite regular flooding (and silting, it you step inside). If you access the coast path via Pawlett you may pass the huge rusting iron hanger which is the remanence of an RAF research station from the same period.
Dunball Wharf to Bridgwater Docks. More of the West of England Coast Path, this beautiful section of well maintained river bank is the home to several pill boxes, many retaining original features, and is well worth a run along to avoid having to run through the main A38 road into Bridgwater. Well worth a visit, especially on a sunny day.
There is so much to learn about these routes and defences, and there is all sorts of information on local maps and online. However, in my experience one of the best sources comes from a very local author. Andrew Powell-Thomas is a historian and author, and lives on Wilstock Village. Amongst other titles, his ‘The West Country’s Last Line Of Defence – Taunton Stop Line’ has become a bit of an essential read for me over the last few weeks! Take a look through the following link for more details (or to grab a copy) https://andrewpowell-thomas.co.uk/the-west-countrys-last-line-of-defence-taunton-stop-line/.
What do you do to motivate you on those days when motivation might have waned?
What do you like to explore on a run (or walk)? History? Nature?
Share your motivators and interests, yours may be the reason someone else gets out onto a run to find out more.
Nick, Team BADRAT.