BRIGHTON MARATHON 2015

My friend Imani is insane. She is insane because she ran 26 miles today. My friend Imani is also amazing. She is amazing because she ran 26 miles today.

Luckily for me, Brighton is a simple train ride away. Or so I thought. Meeting Jess, who almost didn’t make it due to unforeseen hungover circumstances and a desperate need for chicken nuggets, made for a somewhat flustered start to the day. But once we arrived in Brighton, found a good spot and ran alongside our bestie, we soon forgot about the drama of the morning.

Spending the day in this seaside town is always a pleasure. And although she didn’t get any chips and had to side step her way home after the race, I think even Imani would agree that it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Here’s what we got up to…

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A gazillion energy drinks and some almost-tears later, Imani completed the race in just over 5 hrs. Proud doesn’t even cut it.

Apparently it’s mind over matter, running the marathon, but I’m not so sure I could do it.

Could you?

The Skin

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Forget stockings, suspenders, Calvin Klein’s and bodices; there’s nothing more appealing than nudity.

The human body, after all, is a wonderful thing.

Picture the athletes at this year’s Olympic Games, with their washboard stomachs, bulging biceps and lengthy limbs. The bodies of these Adonis’ are impressive, but you’re not exempt from being considered beautiful too. What about a baby’s toes, your girlfriend’s morning breath, granddad’s wrinkles, a mother’s stretch marks and your boy’s five o’clock shadow?

Nothing beats skin and the stories that it tells, so why cover it up?

In this day and age, much like pictures, clobber is used to tell a thousand words. Everyone is so preoccupied with fashion and material possession that they forget how great it is to let it all hang out.

Don’t get me wrong, we are all clearly very aware of how powerful a vision the naked body is. We’ve based an entire religion and blamed the beginning of the human race on a pair of exposed lovers who bossed the whole naked thing and then ballsed it up (excuse the pun). We take our clothes off to have sex, penis’ are exposed on city streets, men have forever paid to see women strip, we take photos of naked tribeswomen from abroad, an exhibition based on genitals was considered offensive, the same exhibition was acclaimed as a piece of art, there’s an entire website based on naked cooking, we use our bodies as a shock tactic in protest and there is an entire world where clothes are seen as a nuisance.

Imagine if we all took on the attitude of the nudist. Accessorizing would take on a whole new meaning wouldn’t it? Piercings would reach new places and ink would be vital. Not to mention the possibility for  the perfect tan and the importance of pubic hair. I think it sounds ideal. And cheap.

So let’s face it, whether it makes us laugh, cringe or feel tingly inside, we truly are obsessed with the naked body. I’m just happy to have realised that some of the best things in life actually are free.

In this case…

It’s nudity.

So go and get your kit off.

The Gap Yah

When I was in sixth form, I wanted my year at school to be “The Year That Didn’t”… go to university. It obviously didn’t happen and my inner rebel was disappointed. However, I ended up not going myself that year and began an amazing journey with one of my best friends exploring the wonders of colourful Mexico and, well, the redbull of Thailand. It was wild, silly, but most importantly, an experience that taught me there is more to life than my pleasant inner city school and silly boy worries.

As we met various fellow travellers, I began to realise that not everyone takes the same path in life and perhaps the ‘right’ path is actually not so perfect. Everyone seems to think that we should do our A levels, go to university, get a job and build a career. However, my gap year opened my eyes to other options. Some people were travelling post-divorce, others post university, others having lost their jobs and some had always travelled and never even contemplated a 9 to 5. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but as I embark on my own voyage post graduation, whether that be back to London from Exeter or across the world to the middle east, I cannot help but get a thrill from the freedom that ensues and the importance of having fun. Why waste my time on a job in teaching that I will probably get bored of in five years time? Why get lost in a successful career in publishing that will end up in me working long hours in a stuffy office, for not very much money?  Instead, I want to live life to the full and enjoy myself for a while!

I hate to sound like a gap year tragedy (i.e someone who wears an anklet three years after they’ve arrived home) but I really would urge everyone to take a year out… or three. At the moment, we are all being forced to panic about spending cuts, crime rates and the future. For those of us who have a family who depend on us then perhaps it’s not the best time to up and leave. But for us students, I think we’ve been given a great opportunity to start something positive elsewhere and perhaps we should start thinking about clawing our way through the economy at a later date?

So, with two of my friends globetrotting post graduation and another two of my friends spending their third year of university abroad, I’ve started to think about getting out of London myself. I’m also hoping for there to be an influx in bronzed backpackers to join me with the forthcoming rise in tuition fees.

Put one finger up to the system, save some money and bugger off to India for the year where you can really decide whether a degree is worth £9000 or not, away from the pressures of society. Sound good to you?

… Right, I’ll dig out my back pack and join you.