Well, I've finally succumbed...
The week before last, alarmed by my ever-growing gut, feelings of sloth, and under pressure from two siblings who have been bitten by the fitness bug, I entered the ballot for the Great North Run, the world's biggest half-marathon, through the once smog-soaked streets of Newcastle in September. It's a big event, second only to the London Marathon in stature, with around 52,000 participants.. It's even shown live on TV. Pah, I thought, submitting my application online, hundreds of thousands of fanatical joggers will be entering. My thinking was, 'Entering will make me look like I'm keen to get fit, but, when my name doesn't come out of the hat I can shrug manfully and say 'Oh well' and get stuck in to the nearest Cornish Pasty.'
Of course, I was chosen. I still got stuck into the nearest Cornish pasty, but as I wiped the last crumb from my cheek, I also fished out an old pair of running shoes, underused, coated in dust. At least they still fit, my feet being one of the few places not to have grown and spread over recent times. Now I just need a training regime. I haven't got one yet but I did load lots of tunes on to my MP3 player so I'm halfway there. Next on my list of priorities is a quiet, uninhabited part of west London where no one knows me, and my ruddy-cheeked wheezing can remain a shameful secret.
I promise not to bore you with my progress, like some other writers I know ('What I Talk I About When I Talk About Running?' Leave it out, Haruki. First of all I won't be able to talk when I'm running, unless it's to beg for medical help Jim Fixx style. Secondly, when I do get my breath back, the first thing I'll talk about is what's for supper. Then how I'm never going to run again once I've done this marathon.) However, I will let you know how the race goes, with maybe some nice pictures of blistered feet, though maybe that's part of secret London that should forever remain hidden.
This craziness will be for a higher purpose though. I will be running to raise money for Breast Cancer research. A subject close to my heart. This article explains why http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/nov/28/explaining-death-to-children
Dan - Friday