It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Given that I pride myself on having a fairly vivid imagination, you’d have thought I could have dreamed up a better idea what might be going on.
But no, I turned up for my free session of Run For One, anticipating that we would stroll gently around Longcroft Park until we had covered the requisite mile, after which we would head off home telling
ourselves that this Running For One lark was easy peasy. How I imagined we would improve over the twelve weeks of the course, well, I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I was Living In The Moment. I do that quite a lot these days...
Despite living in Sunny Worthing for over thirty years, I didn’t even know that Longcroft Park existed until I signed up for Run For One. I took a recce last week, just to make sure that (i)
it did actually exist; and (ii) that I could find it. What a pleasant surprise! It is a beautiful park, with a winding path all around its circumference (three laps of the park = one mile - though I didn’t find that out till later) and a play park of
which the Trio of Rampaging Rascals would surely approve. What I loved most about the park, however, was the constant bird song. I fell in love with it at first chirp.
Regular readers may remember me writing about my new challenge - running, jogging or walking a mile, as part of a project organised by the charity Independent Age. You possibly thought, not having heard any more about it, that I had chickened out but
no, not I. I simply had to wait until another person had signed up for the Tuesday afternoon session. The call came on Monday - did I still want to come out and play? Of course I did!
It was drizzling with rain when I turned up at out meeting place by the children’s play park and met Cheery Chris, our running group leader. She and I had enjoyed several chats on the phone over the preceding weeks as I tried,
in vain, to fill in the on-line form which flatly refused to accept my mobile phone number. In the end I put in my landline number which was immediately accepted. Chris told me that it was an extremely good thing that I had alerted her to the problem as it
turned out that for some reason the form was not accepting any mobile number beginning 0798. Of which, you know, there are a great many, some of whom might even, like me, have been trying to register to Run For One.
While my fellow participant and I introduced ourselves to each other and exchanged the usual pleasantries (how long have you lived in Worthing? Did you walk here? Do you do a lot of walking / running
/ jogging - please delete as appropriate?) Cheery Chris was marking out a circuit on the grass with small coloured cones. Did we, she asked us, see ourselves as runners, joggers or walkers? We both avowed ourselves to be no more than walkers. Chris grinned.
She didn’t exactly say “Let’s see about that!” and it was only later that I realised what she was up to.
So, off we went on the first of
many circuits, starting with a power walk, pumping our arms and stretching our legs. Over the course of the next half hour or so, we progressed to walking one third of the circuit, jogging the second third and - I kid you not - almost running the final third.
We learnt to breathe properly, to imagine we were wearing a corset pulling our bodies in and upwards. We tried to coordinate our ungainly limbs in negotiating the gaps in the rungs of a ladder laid out on the grass like not-so-nimble mountain goats. It was
not at all what I expected - but it was great fun. I drove home feeling like an Aged Version of an Olympic athlete, humming The theme tune from Chariots of Fire. I told you I have a vivid imagination...
My friends at Nomination Whist were surprisingly complimentary about my training; they all said they wouldn’t be able to run a mile. Nobody commented that a mile wasn’t a particularly long distance, not compared
with that covered by Pheidippides who reputedly ran from Marathon to Athens in 490 BC and died in the process. No, nobody mentioned Pheidippides at Nomination Whist, I added that myself because, as you know, I do like the Daily Blog to come over all educational
every once in a while.
Cheery Chris told us we had both done really well for our first session. We were already more joggers than walkers, she congratulated us.
By the time we come to run our Celebration Mile at the end of the course we will look like real athletes.
No, she didn’t say that last bit, I made that up
too. But, hey, everyone has to start somewhere - and I’m starting with the Run For One...