In recognition of my belated entrance onto the Competitive Stage (aka the Run The One Celebration Mile this coming Sunday) I have invested in a new pair of trainers. They are extremely comfy, super springy but - dare I
say - rather bossy.
It’s written on the side of each shoe: “Just Do It!” This reminds me of Mr B at his most tetchy - for example, when I suggest
it would be a good idea if I got him into his pyjamas, before Poldark comes on TV. “Just do it!” he says, crossly. I have to say I didn’t reckon on having to deal with Tetchy Trainers too...
Today was our very last training session before the Big Day. Four of us met up with Cheery Chris, our amazing trainer, in the warm sunshine of beautiful Longcroft Park. We were all pretty hot under the collar before we even
started our warm-up. Chris was keen that we should understand exactly what to expect, come Sunday. BBC Sussex will be there, in the shape of presenter Neil Pringle, providing chat and commentary to the proceedings. Before we actually Run The One, we will all
take part in an extended warm-up during which we will be required to demonstrate our breathing, our excellent balance, our ability to skip through a ladder on the ground, and our remarkable posture on account of having been taught to imagine we each have a
helium balloon rising from the back of our heads and pulling us upwards. This all sounds like hard work - but we will (we are assured) have a minute or two to recover before we line up at the start. Well, that’s alright then...
The things is, I feel very responsible for performing well in the warm up. Cheery Chris has worked so hard with us over the past twelve weeks that I feel I owe it to her to engage my core (I do hope
you are impressed with my command of the lingo) so that I can stand up tall, balance expertly on each leg and skip through the ladder after the manner of my youngest grandson, Faris the Rascal, as demonstrated at his recent school Sports Day. I will therefore
be practising standing on one leg while waiting for the microwave to deliver Mr B’s porridge every morning between now and Sunday.
Aside from my Dodgy
Balance, I am pretty well prepared for Sunday. I have received, in the post, my rather fancy running vest. I have never owned a running vest before. It carries a logo which reads “MAX Athlete” - this is incredibly impressive, particularly as nobody
has actually tested out whether I qualify for such an epithet. I shall do my best to live up to it but I am not promising anything. Moreover the Middle of the Darling Daughters is lending me something called a CamelPack which she promises will keep me hydrated
as I run / jog / walk / hobble. All I need to do is to get in touch with my Inner Dromedary.
Most importantly, I have already raised over £200 for
Independent Age, thanks to the generosity of my family and friends. This will help me hold my head up high (even without the help of that imaginary helium balloon) when I cross the finishing line well behind everybody else, Tardy Tortoise that I am. I am so
very grateful to each and every one of my lovely supporters.
Actually I have thought of a way of avoiding the embarrassment of finishing last in the Celebration
Mile. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters has agreed to accompany me every step of the way. I imagine us approaching the tape, holding our linked hands aloft in triumph to the applause of the crowd. Think Alastair Brownlee helping brother Jonny across the
Triathlon World Series finishing line in Mexico three years ago....
Except that the Youngest of the Darling Daughters hates few things more than drawing attention
to herself. I simply can’t do this to her. It will be enough to slip uncelebrated across the line together, my daughter, my Tetchy Trainers, my CamelPack and I.
After all, it isn’t the winning that matters, it’s the taking part...