Sunday, 11 March 2012

Keeping up with the Kenyans

That time of year has come around again - it is the day for the Bath Half Marathon.

This is great news for all the food outlets in the area, because between 14,000 and 15,000 people take part in the event every year, and most of them bring their entire families along for support. This means that if you fancy going for a quiet bite to eat in a local restaurant or pub this sunday, forget it.

They start thronging at around 8 in the morning, all heading for the same start-line, but because there are so many of them, they all have to take differing routes, adding an extra mile or two to the 13 that they are just about to run. Roads are closed off and unless I strategically park my car the night before, it remains trapped down a cul-de-sac until 7 in the evening, so we cannot drive out of Bath. The traffic would be horrendous anyway, so I leave it trapped.

I have no interest in almost any sport, but I feel compelled to lean out of the window to watch the competitors as they walk or jog by, and my mind usually wanders in the direction of the fitness of the female ones, and which of them I find the most attractive.

Of course, this is a pointless thing for me to speculate about, because I find most sportswomen unattractive, and the few that I do can easily outrun me, so the exercise is academic - unlike theirs.

I have a 62 year-old friend who is running today, and he has been training for a couple of months now. He reckons he can do it in about 2 hours 10 minutes - about half the speed of the Kenyan who will certainly win again this year. My friend is the male I know who has been the most hard-hit (psychologically) by growing old, and he often bemoans the fact that he will 'never get off with a willing 18 year-old again'. I find his use of the word 'willing' a little sinister, and I hope I don't read about him in the newspaper one day, for any reason other than that he completed the Bath Half Marathon along with about 14,000 others again this year.

When I was at school, I was always being forced to run the cross-country event because the teachers thought I had the physique for it - I was very gangly and over 6 foot in height. I was bloody useless, and always came in last - so far behind the others that I was once mistaken for the winner of the following race until the headmaster announced over the Tannoy that I was hopelessly slow and everyone should stop applauding me. The applause turned to laughter and ridicule in an instant.

Very few people have seen me even break into a trot, let alone run for 13 miles.

Oh well, I had better go and change into Lycra - I see they have begun. I wish I hadn't drunk so much last night - it's going to be hard keeping up with the Kenyans.

14 comments:

  1. It makes me ache all over, just watching these people. Armchair sports for me!

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    1. That's right. I think the coldest I have ever been was when watching 'The March of the Penguins' on DVD.

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  2. It actually makes me want to join in, seeing people sprinting around like that. I coulda been a contender! There was a relay race in high school for field day that I was in with my friends--a group of sad, weak girls. Book worms. Nerds. But something happened to me when the competition approached my spot on the track. When I had the baton, I ran like a crazy fool and put our team ahead by several seconds. Of course, my friend LuAnna then ruined it by literally dragging her feet to the finish line. I was so disappointed. I want to be a Kenyan!

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    1. Bloody LuAnna! Dontcha want to kill her?!

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  3. start the race 3 minutes before closing time
    bet you beat the Kenyans then!

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    1. The race started 11 hours before closing time - no need.

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  4. Ha - rather like Amy Saia, I could also have been a contender. To get out of school 'organised sports' as fifth formers, my best pal and I told the gym mistress (!) that we were practising for the 880 yards (old money) sports day event. We spent several double gym lessons jogging round the deserted track chatting to our hearts' content. We even occasionally timed ourselves for a laugh. But being ignorant of competitive times, and rather ashamed of our scheme to avoid lessons, we declined to put our names down for Sports Day. On the big day itself, we were dumbstruck when the sixth form Cup Winner ran slower than our casual practice time.

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  5. I have a rule for my life: I NEVER run! And I relish going slow...

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    1. Quite right. I didn't get where I am today by running.

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  6. I used to love running til I grew all those floppy bits. Later, getting a kangaroo dog (or lurcher your neck of the woods) meant I had to strap all those bits down and run her so she didn't kill all of the neighbours chickens. Coulda been a contender? Nah. Coulda done with a Kenyan.
    Anyway, I'm really here because I'm intrigued about your deposted post, Tom. Do tell ...

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  7. "In" your neck of the woods. Damn.

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  8. I was about to comment on the naked lady on the beach and there it was, gone ! See, we are all watching you Tom ..... you can run but you can't hide !!

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