RIP, my 5-mile tree

I lost a dear friend two weeks ago to Storm Arwen. Not a “human” friend, but rather a tree friend. My lovely, encouraging, and inspirational 5-Mile Tree.

The 5-Mile Tree has sat in a field atop a hill for more than 100 years. And for the last few years, it has been an important marker on my 5-mile running route. It is located near the halfway point of the route, and I know that when I can see it in view, I am almost at the top of the hill. Then, when I turn around a minute or two later, it signifies the start of a nice, long downhill sprint.  Ah, how I love that downhill sprint!

But, sadly, the strong winds of Storm Arwen were too much for my tree to withstand.

I learned of the tree’s demise on the morning of my COVID19 booster jag. I had planned on doing a “sunrise run” but it had snowed the night before, so I delayed my run until it was light out so that I could look out for ice. I was a little sad about that because I had hoped to get a photo of my tree in the sunrise, but “safety first”. As I neared the top of the hill, I didn’t see my tree and I feared it had been cut down. Only once I had fully crested the hill, I saw its corpse laying there, covered in snow.

A dog walker from a nearby cottage informed me that it had fallen over the night before – on what would have been Paul’s birthday. For some reason, that struck me as notable, for no reason other than another significant event on such a significant day.

Sadly, there’s not a lot of hope for another tree to take its place, as the land will be developed for housing before too long. Although I had hoped that this lone tree would have been saved and incorporated into the housing scheme before the heavy winds got to it.

And of course, I have loads of other “favourite” trees; each with a different story and reason for making the list. But this is my only favourite running tree and it served as a point of joy and celebration on my 5-mile runs. (And on longer runs that passed this spot.)

But now, I wonder what will happen to my 5-mile run. I have been thinking for a while now that I want to work on my 10K route (6.2 miles) a little more, so maybe that run will take over. Or maybe I’ll design a new 5-mile route. Or maybe I’ll seek out something new to act as my inspiration on this route.

I don’t know.

But one thing I do know is that I have enjoyed this tree for many years now and that I will miss it. Yes, as silly as it sounds, I will miss a tree.

Rest in peace, my lovely 5-Mile Tree.

Photo notes: I only began carrying my phone on runs when the COVID19 lockdowns began in March 2020, so my running tree photos only stretch back that far. And I don’t take photos on every run. But the gallery below contains some of my favourite pictures of my favourite tree over the last 21+ months.

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