In the fantastical parallel universe that takes up most of my head space I am a marathon runner. Many other things besides but marathon runner has been the recurring theme. I think it’s the mixture of joy, pride and deep self satisfaction that lights up people’s faces as they cross the finish line. Normal people with busy lives who yet have the grit and determination to fit in eight hours of training each week. I like to sofa surf and watch these winners and sometimes I’ll even get off the sofa and sign up for a race myself.
I’ve gone quite far round the track with the whole running thing. There was the time I scored a place on the hugely oversubscribed London Marathon by pledging to raise hundreds of pounds for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Cue much jubilation and celebration in the office followed by a shame-faced withdrawal of my place some weeks later (I may even have cited a running injury).
Then there was the Great North Run, only a half marathon this time and much more achievable you would think. At least this time I was only letting myself down instead of one of the most noble and hard-working charities in Great Britian.
And there was the Great South Run, a flurry of zealous form-flling, followed by a period of deep inactivity, Their newsletters still ping through to me each quarter as though I am one of the great running elite.
But enough of these failed fantasies piling up behind me like a car crash on the A303, for there’s a new challenge in town. At lunch last week a friend announced that he had just signed up for the Grand Shaftesbury Run, adding the fatal words: ‘Anyone want to join me?” (Hell yes).
I registered a look of grim resignation on my husband’s face as he watched the new fantasy take hold. On the way home as I debated the merits of pedometers and pronation trainers he said: ’Can I just suggest one thing. Before you spend 200 quid on new kit, why don’t you go for a run first?’
Well I’ve been for one and despite a debilitating stiffness that has made me unable to walk down the stairs unaided, I loved it. Running in the country is such a different ball game to the urban, fume-filled toils of my past. Newborn calves,and bonfires to ogle at, Primal Scream on the ipod and miles of uninterrupted view ahead. This time I think it might work. Nine weeks to 10 K and counting ….… Anyone want to join me?