January 2021…

In the UK, the country descended into a terrible parody of itself, combining Carry On with Hammer Horror and a thoroughly significant sprinkling of Ken Loach.

Schools opened fully, then closed THE NEXT DAY to everyone except the children of essential workers and those considered vulnerable. The death-toll from COVID-19 reached record levels and cases soared all over the country. The political and economic impact of Brexit started to be realised as Storm Christoph rampaged. Self-employed mothers called out sexist policies which failed to protect their maternity rights and a footballer continued to challenge the government over feeding children. Coffee shops opened; pubs remained closed; mass COVID-vaccination programmes were allowed to be halted for horseracing meetings. Meanwhile, the English Cross Country Association continued their line that women shouldn’t be allowed to run as far as men and some men saw the potential equalisation of race distances as an affront to their masculinity.

In the rest of the world, coronavirus and climate-change ravaged, further disaster movies were unfolding, quite rightly unbothered by the sexism inherent in athletics…

The US Capitol was stormed by far-right protesters. Pro-democracy campaigners continued to to be arrested in Hong Kong. In Mozambique, a country still recovering after devastating cyclones in 2019, an outbreak of cholera was reported in communities already displaced by militia activity. Migrants fleeing conflicts in their own countries continued to make treacherous Mediterranean crossings to find safety.

Accessing the news in January 2021 was difficult. While personal battles continued, the state of the world seemed insurmountable. Breaking down individual experiences to tackle one at a time was my preferred method; small changes I could make, rather than fretting over the big ones I couldn’t (ECCA – I’m coming for you).

Then, though, came a little more hope via the Biden/Harris inauguration in the US, specifically in the words of the US Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.

For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

At the time of writing, January 2021 still has 10 days to go; what can I do to make things better?

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