The View from My Window | Adharanand Finn

No matter where you live, coronavirus has altered daily life. We’ve asked Faber authors to share a snapshot of their lives.

It’s like that game, musical chairs, where you’re rushing round and suddenly the music stops and you have to sit down wherever you are. At another point in my life I would have been in a flat with no garden in London, or living in a cul-de-sac in Kyoto trying to research ekiden running. Lockdown would have been very different. But my world is now an old farmworkers’s cottage on the edge of Totnes in Devon, looking over rolling farmland threaded with a network of green lanes, secret pathways and tractor routes tucked between ancient hedgerows.

Most mornings, coffee is had on a bench outside the front door, beside a row of wellies and running shoes, the chickens busily exploring to and fro. The cockerel stops, one leg poised, head turned, giving me the eye, before going on his way. The farmer next door waves as he returns home for his mid-morning break already. It’s a south-facing suntrap and hard to leave, especially with all this wonderful sunshine we’ve had ever since the lockdown began.

But after the coffee kicks in, I want to run. Work, play, the washing up can all wait. What’s the hurry? We have the whole day.

I was a runner before the coronavirus and I know the green lanes well, so off I go, running up and down their rutted pathways, emerging for a moment onto silent A-roads or into empty villages, before disappearing again down the next lane. Running is a chance to feel the breeze, to feel the sun on my skin, to let my thoughts whirl and settle, to feel movement in my body, to forget about the news.

I always feel better when I get home afterwards.

We’re lucky we had this garden when the world stopped. It’s not big, but using plant pots and sticks my kids have set up goalposts for football, a tiny tennis court, a high-jump challenge. It’s a mini Olympics in our garden most days.

I often used to wish, as I rushed around being an author and a news editor at the Guardian, a father and a podcaster and a runner, that the world would stop for a moment, that everything would slow down and I could step off the treadmill. I thought that would be wonderful. It’s a shame it took a coronavirus pandemic to make it happen, but since it has, it has been rather nice to sit down on my chair and enjoy the view for a while.

Adharanand Finn’s The Rise of the Ultra Runners is out now in paperback and available to buy here.