First, nothing to do with my training and only indirectly to do with me. A 44-year-old friend who finds it difficult to motivate himself to go out for a run, was so impressed by the Big Marathon Challenge article that he decided that if a 73-year-old could turn out for a run four or five times a week, he had no excuse not to do the same. He has even pinned the photograph of me on the inside of his wardrobe, so when he gets home after work fancying a spell in the armchair with a glass of wine, he hangs up his jacket, sees me and puts on his trainers.

On the first night his partner asked who he was talking to. When he said “Derek” she asked “Who’s Derek? There’s no one else in the room.” He’d been reassuring my photograph that he was off for a run, no doubt with a few expletives thrown in. He is already running further and faster, and enjoying it more. So it is not only the four of us who were lucky enough to be selected who are benefitting from the Challenge.

For the first time in about twenty years I’ve had a bit of a cough and thought it best not to run one day. I haven’t missed any of the runs in my plan but I put them all back a day, and considered last Thursday my rest day rather than Sunday. Not ideal, but probably best in the circumstances.

I had someone else to run with for my two hours easy, which was good for a change and I’ve found some undulating land in this flat part of London. It did mean doubling back and doing some parts two or three times to complete the 45 minutes prescribed, but it is possible.

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