I’ve gone and done it now. I’ve got a place in the Royal Parks Half-Marathon on 11 October. It’s a lovely route, taking in St James’s Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, as well as landmarks such as the London Eye and a section by the Thames. Some of my favourite places in London and, in the autumn, the Park sections should be beautiful.
Of course, I’ve got to make sure I’m in good enough condition to appreciate the route as well as achieve a decent time, something which gives my training some focus again after a bit of drift. I started running about 18 months ago, using a Regents Park-Hyde Park route for my longer runs as I trained for last summer’s Great British 10k in central London. I did that in what I’m told is a pretty respectable time for my age, 53 minutes, and had well and truly got the bug. Getting out into the parks and open air is perfect for breaking up long sessions in front of a screen, and – without wanting to turn into a health headbanger – there’s a real benefit from feeling physically fitter and mentally sharper.
But after I missed another 10k I’d entered late last autumn when I went down with the very unpleasant stomach bug that was doing the rounds, I’ve not really got back into a proper routine. So targeting a half-marathon will get me back into the groove. And it’s also probably the closest I’ll ever get to doing a marathon – we’ll see.