My footpath theory

I swear the next post o n this blog will be fully dedicated to running, some of which I’m actually doing these days.

I swear.

But in the meantime this one is based on one of my revelations that came to me during a run I did in Italy. For the purposes of this theory I’m going to use some massively general national stereotypes (Are there any other, I hear you say) and probably insult loads of people along the way so sorry in advance.

As well as that, like any good theory, it is full of gaping holes that allow it to be deconstructed easily.

But, like a sandcastle build in the way of an approaching tide, it will stand for as long as you read it.

As I was running through some random medieval town in Italy I was trying to

(a) avoid being killed by a motorist

(b) trying to work out how the EU debt crisis could be solved.

I know, I didn’t know I could multi-task either but given that the debt crisis hasn’t been solved I might not have been multi-tasking at all.

Anyway, I was trying to work out what the major malfunction was in the whole EU project and how we are floating ever closer to the edge of the waterfall and everyone is rowing in their own direction, all convinced they know best and then

it hit me:


Europe has 2 types of countries and they can  summed up by the state of their footpaths.

Those with autistically good footpaths and those for whom a footpath is a concept that has never really caught on – generally it’s for allowing dogs to have a shit, trees to grow up-through and cars to park on. Maybe it should be called a shitpath. Obviously I was practicing my off-road running style on an Italian shitpath when this came to me.

Now, as a runner (and a walker) I enjoy a beautifully even footpath as much as the next man and the pleasure of wandering drunkenly through a German (or Dutch, Austrian, Danish or any of the other autistic footpath countries) town without having to deal with the footpath factor is not to be under estimated. But for the love of God, not one of these footpath countries has a Sistine Chapel (don’t get picky and tell me it’s in the Vatican), a Ulysses, A Scottish Single Malt, A litter strewn tapas bar, a town where you can run the bulls or an acropolis. None of them have given us the best wines and food in the world or the best bowel cleansing porter money can buy or even the deep fried mars bar.

What they have given us is order and uniformity. I know these lead to efficiency and productivity but they also lead to the murdering of the human soul through conformity and regulation.

Council of the European Union - Open Doors Day

Eat my soul

So, the only way we’ll solve the EU financial crisis is to find some way of understanding that nice footpaths are nice but they are not the sum total of our existence (the footpaths are a metaphor for anyone asleep at the back of the class) and a bit of disorder is no bad thing.

It’s worth remembering that we are all only one clean pair of jocks away from behaving like savages anyway.

Now, for anybody wandering across this blog for the first time or anybody who knows me in the real world, that is what I think about when I run.


2 responses to “My footpath theory

  1. Next time you’re out for a run Richard can you come up with a uniform theory on how women manage to do everything better than us and how the T-rex could manage to do anything with such tiny arms?!

    • No problem Scott.

      I’d say you’d get half a decent length ultra marathon out-of-the-way before you’d get close to an answer to the first one. On the T-Rex front – maybe the retarded T-Rexes were born with the tiny arms and they were the ones that died out so our view of them is skewed. If you ever met a group of archaeologists you’d realise that they are floating on their own, detached from reality – everything they find has ‘ritualistic and ceremonial’ significance. I suppose my shitter has ‘ritualistic and ceremonial’ significance if you look at it from their perspective.

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