Author: Stephen Fabes

Armagh-eddon: racing the fastest 5k in the world

How is it that races guarded by qualifying times dare you to race? A small hit of pride, perhaps, that’s all it takes, and I’m signing up to run a measly 5k in Armagh, which is in Northern Ireland, in case you don’t have googlemaps to hand. But if you’re looking for excuses not to bother – and very soon, I am – this race in particular has more than usual for the dubious. It falls midweek. I live in London, so it’s the other side of a whole sea. It’s going to cost money to get there....

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How to lose friends, write books and ignore people

Put on your ‘writing jumper’. It’s oversized, woolly and you found it behind the dressing gowns at Scope. Forget that it still smells of a gouty pensioner. Breathe. Feel powerful. You are ready to begin.CoffeeHave a shot of hot water if you drool any of the grounds.Limber up: Look about your room and create luminous, poetic similes. The widow shines like a pair of shiny glasses in the glassy sun. The can of coke is crepuscular, like an isotope of beryllium. The sunrise was bloody, like a road...

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An Accidental Run to Smalley Green

It began with an empty space. I noticed it take form in my diary, a run of blank pages, cleaned of life. The weeks leading up to and after this time were messy, every page scribbled with reminders and events, presentations, shifts in A&E, drinks with mates. But as time passed, nothing encroached on this odd little clearing in the forest, and sometimes, I wondered if was all down to me. Perhaps some instinct, something subconscious, was meticulously making space. Perhaps this was the...

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How to rough camp without getting murdered in your sleep

There’s a tradition to uphold in writing how-to posts. The writer should peacock their expertise with a detailed account of all the times they got it right. But then… how could you trust the advice? To paraphrase ancient wisdom, we learn through our fuck-ups. And in my experience of rough camping, there has been quite a lot of learning because, to be frank, there have been an enormous number of fuck-ups. I have catalogued them with names that invoke time-worn horror movies. There has...

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My mum loves Levison Wood

My mum loves Levison Wood. In case you’ve been on hiatus from our star system, Levison is an adventurer. Channel 4 follow him about as he does venturesome things. ‘He’s such an adventurous guy’ my mum says. ‘Mum’ I begin, steadily. ‘I’ve been cycling around the world for six years.’ ‘I know, I know darling’ she says, before lapsing into a reverie. ‘But he’s so handsome, isn’t he?’ She follows him on Twitter. It makes me wonder when she’s going to follow me. ‘Oh, are you...

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