Thursday, 13 January 2011
When I were a lad, apart from dreaming whistfully of a future filled with flying cars and iPhones, I used to read the "Victor" and the "Hornet" as light relief from the conjugation of Greek verbs and translations from Horace that were so much part of the daily grind at our Council Estate primary school.
One of my great heroes was Alf Tupper, aka "Tough of the Track", who was a wonderful role model for the power of the human spirit. He would make coal briquettes by day and in the evening run in International Athletic events and beat poshos and foreigners alike with his working class northern grit and determination. Being from the North (of Kent) I looked upon Alf as a role model.
My dreams of athletic prowess never came to anything and at Grammar School I just about made the "Chuckouts" in Rugby and hated Cricket. It wasn't until my 40's that I started proper long-distance running as an antidote to working for arses and ended up doing the London Marathon twice, the second time overtaking Sir Steve Redgrave in a career highlight on London Bridge. He'll deny it of course.
Since moving out to the Countryside and going self-employed I gave up running completely... until last week. I've entered a 10k Road Race in April prompted by the fact that all my children and some of their partners are going to be in it. Having sent off £17 I'm now financially committed and am having to start thinking about doing some regular running.
I'm up to 2 miles at the moment but only ever one step away from a running injury (my nickname used to be "Ivor Niggle" in running circles) so will have to take it steady. Alf Tupper is still my inspiration.