Manchester 10K

I’m doing the Bupa Great Manchester Run to raise a bit of cash for the National Literacy Trust this Sunday.

I hated running. Really. I bobble at the best of times, don’t I; a bunch of pale meat with noodles for limbs. That’s why when I’m really motoring – which is more of a wonky canter, and even then basically a limp – I look like a fast pile of sticks, with some ginger wig in there.

So I hated running. It’s walking, which is the most boring pursuit in the world, but with a greater risk of death.

On account of my feet, I needed some shoes that might support my lollop. We went to the special shop to try some on. Proper runners get a gait analysis, which involves the travelator from Gladiators and a camera. I’ve never been on a travelator before. I didn’t really know how to handle myself. I couldn’t get up to speed, so I was kind of hopping about on it for a while. Then the attendant fiddled the controls and next news I’m going an even ten on some interminable scale of hell. Then, I turn round. Nobody told me not to turn round on a travelator, an I fell off it in front of the whole shop. Me, red as a dead-end road sign, wondering why I bloody bother.

Still, you improve. You notice the others out there, being smarmy about it. Far as I can tell, there are two ways to spot a runner. One is their shoes, and the other their calf muscles. I have two of the former and none of the latter. I rustle up and down the canal in shellsuit bottoms, hoping nobody notices.

So that’s how I’ve trained. Grumbling up and down the canal path, end to end, arse over noodle. Old Trafford and back. You have to dodge hissing geese and their children. And then, you get to like it. The breathing and your feet beating a metronome. Your clear head and your cold face.

And on Sunday I’ll run ten million millimetres. And I’ve chosen the NLT because reading and writing aren’t perks — they’re fundamental rights. Because one in six people struggle to read and write – in their jobs, at homes, in school. Because that equals 12.6 million people. Because the National Literacy Trust helps to develop, support, and enhance literacy skills. Because I reckon even a couple of hundred quid goes a little way longer than nothing at all. Because really, if you can read this, you’re a lucky sod.

Anyway. The point is, I’d be chuffed to bits if you read this and think about sponsoring me. I’ve set up a Just Giving page and it’s here or over there and thanks, I love you.

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