I was that girl in P.E. who always forgot her kit. On purpose. I detested physical exercise. It was so boring and regimented, and getting undressed showered and dressed again for about 20-60 mins of doing something boring in the rain, whilst being dictated to by some barking little jumpy woman was just plain ridiculous in my book.
The minute I left school for 6th form and P.E was no longer compulsory, I started swimming a mile a day before school. I started to love exercise. But running was not and had ever been my thing. Especially long distance.
I was 20 and in my second year of a law degree. My house-mate Ali was probably the most persuasive girl I’ve ever met. She suggested we train for and run Sheffield half-marathon. So we did. To my surprise we would do 5 miles out to the peak district and back to our house. Once I did this twice in one day. It was fun. Fun-ish. After the run we’d do some sit-ups and some other crazy stuff (I swear that Ali invented) at home. Then, we fell off the wagon.
I was turning 21 and had two birthday parties, one at home with family and friends and one at uni. Tom Farmer came up from home with another school friend to stay for my Uni 21st. I loved Tom. Something about the fact that he was born with Cystic Fibrosis, seemed to influence his character. In that, he was the most fun-loving, easy going, relaxed and happiest of all of us. I never saw him hung-up about any of the things that stressed the rest of us from time to time. He was an awesome and infectiously positive guy to be around. And very funny.
Tom knew I’d ‘started’ running and at that party he suggested we run the New York marathon together the following year to raise money for CF (Cystic Fibrosis) Trust. I agreed that we could and should do that.
However, when the morning of the Sheffield half-marathon rolled around, I hadn’t ran for more than a month. In that month I had been on holiday to Cyprus, had two 21st birthday parties and spent the day before the race lounging in the park with chips and beers, laughing with friends about how we weren’t doing the race in the morning.
Ali tells me we made an arrangement to meet under the action-man clock in our living room with a tin of baked beans and a spoon (my favourite student fuel) at 7am. This obviously slipped my mind… (more…)