mundane adventures in running
I turn forty next year. Next May. I have given up on most of my earlier pre forty bucket list. Becoming fluent in a foreign language, learning Kung fu, displaying proficiency in cryptic crossword puzzles, playing the guitar have all been struck off. One remains: to run an ultra marathon.
It’s stupid and vain. It’s just silly to challenge myself. Selfish to promise so much time to the endeavour. There’s a fake romanticism about it. The journey, the trial, the challenge is entirely arbitrary. So it’s a false thing, a made up thing. There’s too much consent and premeditation for it to feel real. No amount of travail, of mud, of heroism will take away from the fact that any race I do will be in spitting distance of a motorway service station, scaring dog walkers in the woods, with other middle age men having crises of ageing, with the same power gels, fifty quid race belts and compression tights. It’s quixotic; I’m tilting at windmills. I’m pretending it’s a quest or a trial, and it’s just a silly conceit.
I’ve found the race which i could do, at least in theory. It’s about 100km, a bumpy path across the north and south downs. I’ve just enough time to train. I could do it.
So shall I? should I puff my chest out and pretend I can’t see how ludicrous I’m being? Do I sign up? Do I do it? do I strike another thing of that list of things?