There is someone who lives near me who has had a great influence upon me, yet we have never met and I have no idea who they are. I shall call them my Inspirational Mystery Runner (IMR).
Last summer was a hot one and after several years of being desk bound at work and restricted to long commutes by car to get there, it is fair to say that I had turned into a fat knacker. I blamed my work routine, the weather and just about anything else for my predicament
Throughout last year’s heatwave, at about 0530 every morning, I would be woken from a fitful sleep by the rhythmic slap, slap, slap of running shoes pounding the pavement outside my house.
The first time I heard it, I thought nothing of it. But having heard the sound of this unseen athlete’s morning thrash on repeated occasions, I thought, “Well if they’re doing it, I should be getting out there too.” So a few days later, I pulled on my running kit and hit the road.
Over the next few weeks, taunted by the daily foot stomp of the IMR, I trained progressively to reach the point at which I could run 3 miles at a half-decent pace and took part in a couple of Park Run events. In late September, disaster struck in the form of a ‘flu-like illness and a run of subsequent heavy colds. I soon settled back into old habits.
It is now January and I have managed to fit in five runs since New Year’s Eve with a sixth scheduled for Friday. A week ago, my running closely resembled dying in an upright position while moving in a vaguely forward direction. This week, I have managed to rise early and run before work. On both occasions I have completed a 3 miler in a manner that felt like and hopefully looked like running. I have not heard or seen the IMR for weeks, but as I work to regain a reasonable standard of fitness, I know that I owe them a debt of gratitude.