and not one of those miles passed through anywhere one could class as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Lots of underpasses though, those were nice. The way they prominently named each one of these identical concrete monuments to Le Corbusier (who has a lot to answer for) so that you wouldn’t think you were running in circles was extremely kind. Anyway I’m getting ahead of myself.
Ben, my sadistic partner in all things polar, informed me two weeks ago that as part of his training for the London Marathon we would be doing the Milton Keynes Half Marathon. Last year we had both been able to blag ‘celebrity places’ and found ourselves on the front line of the London Marathon hemmed in by Gordon Ramsey and the Cheeky Girls on either side. This year, Ben managed to score the last place, cruelly leaving me to my fate. However, with the kindness that he is famous for, he still insisted that I join him for the MK half.
I had managed to sustain the mother of all shin splints the week before, but after serious consultation with numerous health professionals decided that a shedload of ibuprofen should do the trick. A friendly/drunk doctor once reminded me that those maximum usage guidelines were meant to apply to 50lb grannies and thus my 185lb frame could probably up the dosage without growing a third arm on my forehead. I had put this to fine effect prior to a race in the Southern Ocean in 2000, where upon receiving the command that the bow team were not allowed more than one ibuprofen pill every four hours, we scoured the chemists of Buenos Aires until we found a little old lady that sold us some 800mg tablets that, I can only assume, she had acquired from the local horse doctor. A good settlement for all involved I felt. But I digress.
So Sunday morning found us stuck in the middle of a great mass of humanity wearing skimpy clothing and wishing that we were reproducing this scenario in Rio rather than Milton Keynes. The thing is, the race itself was brilliant. I ran almost exactly the same pace throughout and started surging through the pack around mile eight, which was a fantastic feeling. I was no longer just running to get round, I was running down the group ahead, passing them then targeting the next one, all the while singing the London Underground song happily in my head. I finished in 1:28:40 and picked up my gaudy orange medal of victory. Disappointingly, there was no cash prize attached to the medal, so I settled for swiping as much free lucozade sport (cures all known diseases) as I could carry and headed back home for a hot-dog eat-off with a professional skateboarder which I ignominiously lost 11 hot dogs to nine. You win some, you lose some.