Sep 22

My toe is thoroughly blue.

No, before you ask, my feet are not depressed. Rather, they were compressed, unwittingly, by some fancy socks that I wore for the Great North Run last Sunday. The fancy socks have two layers so there’s scant chance of blisters. Only problem is I reckon they’d had a boil wash between last wear and the half-marathon and there was no room to manoeuvre. Only I didn’t notice. I was too busy worrying about stomach cramps and toilets and how insane it was for me to be lugging my saggy cellulitic butt round 13.whatever miles to worry about insignificant feet.

I ran with Skinny Anna because she declared she needed to walk every twenty minutes to rest her dodgy hip, so I reckoned I’d manage that kind of run. You know: chilled out. Laid back. Chatting, jogging, getting through it. A time of maybe 2hrs20 if we pushed ourselves a little.


Let’s begin by saying this is the biggest half marathon in the world. There is music blasting, toilet queuing, celebrity spotting, warming up and much, much camera action. But that’s not what get’s the blood pumping. I can’t explain it. Maybe the sheer number of people pushing towards the start line? The smell of Deep Heat in the air? The rustle of race numbers upon fifty thousand running shirts? I dunno. Whatever it was, it made me want to run fast. Which is impossible, because of, firstly, lack of fitness and, secondly, those fifty thousand. We were way back in the field due to toilet queuing, and we pretty much spent the entire race dodging around people to find a space just that little bit ahead where we could find our stride.

Before we knew it we realised we were heading for a sub-2hr time, and when that possibility entered our heads we put the squeeze on. Strategically, you understand. Just enough to squeak in by a second or two.

Next time I do it I’m going to shamelessly ask for sponsorship, which I’ve always been too bashful to do before. And next time I’m going to be wearing bigger socks.

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