Not quite the Olympics but...
I summoned the spirit of Peaty, Daley, Learmouth, Shriever and Co as my Parkrun resumed this morning after the Covid hiatus. I suspect I wasn’t the only one.
There’s something about the steely determination of those athletes than inspires – even if your interest in sport is as negligible as mine.
Parkrun is a worldwide phenomenon. In the UK, almost 100,000 runners of all shapes, sizes, ages and motivations haul themselves out of bed and rock up on Saturday mornings to dash round a 5k course in a nearby park. Some are wiry experts keen for a PB, others turn up to meet friends, or because they know they really must do something to get fitter – or help their body cope with illness. For each person - this is their Olympics.
All are treated with the same respect. Runners who crack it in 19 minutes linger to applaud those who might take an hour. The helpers too, who get out of bed purely to help others, are to be congratulated - evidence of my old mum’s saying that there are more good people in the world than bad. And well done to Vitality for a fitting commercial sponsorship.
Sport was never my thing. At school, I was the lad who tried valiantly to forget his plimsoll bag and was always the last standing against the wall to be picked for football. Wisely, no one wanted me in their team.
I’m no flag-waving gay bloke. When you hide it for decades, it becomes rather a habit. But I was delighted see Daley on the press conference sandwiched between the Chinese and Russian representatives making the points he did. For the idiot social media trolls who replied ‘why does it matter?’ – or worse - they really don’t get it. When you’re bullied for years and told that you are wrong, flawed, faulty and bad, it creates an utter lack of self-confidence that lives with you. Forever. Winning an Olympic Gold is a pretty damn good riposte to that - and real inspiration to others.
My world is radio. I was told I’d never run a radio station unless I got a nice wife.
I’m no Daley. For me, my marathon has been launching Boom Radio - a new UK music radio station on DAB and online for Baby Boomers. The team and I have made good speed on the opening straight but there are many hills to climb and the route is a challenging one. But there’s nothing like a 5k run to give you original ideas and fresh insight into a thorny challenge.
And - like Parkrun, the fact that the Boom team are all fit youngsters aged in our 60s, 70s and 80s is no impediment to the hunger to do our very best. I could never have managed my parkrun in 23 minutes when I was 25.
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