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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

Respect for runners

A LONG time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Oxfordshire, actually) I ran a half marathon.

EM Peter Grenville column
Peter Grenville

I say “run”. I walked a bit. Oh, OK a lot. Nearly all of it, yes. It was hideous. Within the last two miles you had to pass a pub, where all the people who were actually quite good at running, and had therefore already finished, had assembled to drink to their extreme nippiness, and cheer on the slow-coaches. Smashing.

Advancing years, and a pathological fear of exercise, mean my running days are limited to a dash for a train. Even then I need oxygen and a muscle rub. Ticket inspectors say that isn’t their job, but they need to consider customer’s needs, before calling the police.

I am therefore flabbergasted that anyone can run a whole marathon, especially since they got renamed to “Snickers”. (Actually, now I come to think of it, that may have something to do with those athletes that had already completed the half-marathon back in the mists of time, watching me wheeze my way past.)

At 9.30am this morning, 18 people set off to do a marathon, looping around Windermere, which happens to handily be exactly the right distance. Plus it has the advantage of making it hard to take a short-cut, unless you happen to have a wetsuit on under your running gear, which is apparently not a very good idea – the squeaking upsets nesting wildfowl. They won’t be setting record-breaking times, and there’s a very good reason for that. You see, they’ll be doing another marathon tomorrow. And the day after that. AND the day after that too. In fact, they’ll be doing 10 marathons in 10 days.

That’s nuts, right? They’ll complete their final ‘lap of honour’ on the 20th, with all the “lightweights” taking part in the Brathay Windermere Marathon, who are doing just the one. I struggle to get out of bed some mornings – I can’t quite comprehend what it must feel like to wake up knowing you’re doing yet another marathon.

They’re doing this to raise funds for Brathay Trust, the Ambleside-based charity that inspires young people to become successful, confident and responsible citizens. I work for Brathay (when I say work, I’m pretty sure most of my colleagues think I’m the photocopier repair man), so I know the funds raised will go to good use.

But surely there are easier ways to raise money? Why would you put yourself through the pain and mental torture of 10 marathons in a row?

I don’t have an answer, and I’m not sure they do either. What I do have is the utmost respect for these men and women. They are mad – but in a good way. Visit www.brathaywindermeremarathon.org.uk if you want to know more.

Have a good weekend. If you can.

Have your say

GREAT to have you back Pete! Your
appointment as 'columnist' is much deserved and your fans eagerly await your every weekly monologues. xx

Posted by Marlow Sue on 18 May 2012 at 09:40

Am really enjoying your column in the paper and look forward to more of the wit and humour in which you write.

Posted by JanieG on 17 May 2012 at 11:42

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