Over the last fifty-two years the nearest I have come to sporting prowess is walking to school. As a child I spent more time reading a book than running around. My youngest sister could run faster than me almost as soon as she could walk, I remember her chasing me with a carving knife around the flat we lived in after I had done something to upset her. I can’t remember what it was I did, but I do remember it was me who got smacked and locked in the wooden larder that stood in the hallway.
At school I was the kid who was picked last for the team games, netball, hockey, rounders (a bit like baseball for anyone outside the UK) and whilst I was happy to sit and make daisy chains during the summer rounders matches, standing around in my games kit during the winter was no fun. At primary school sports days were kept short by selecting the best children for each type of race, more daisy chain making for me, my youngest sister provided the proud mother moments in our family.
The one thing I have always done though is walk. Between the ages of seven and eleven I walked half a mile to school, a lot more than many kids today. During the summer at secondary school I would walk the two and a half miles to school, spend the hour and a half lunch break walking round and round the buildings and fields and then walk the two and a half miles home. I might not be built for speed, but I did have endurance. Endurance wasn’t something that my school valued though when it came to sport. In fact I’m not entirely sure how I was viewed by my peers or teachers. Possibly the fact I came from a deprived area lead them to believe I was something I wasn’t. It took me a few years to realise, but when we were doing a biology survey of the environmental effects of pollution on lichen I actually heard two teachers discussing which areas were to be covered “we’ll have to send Lorna to Horseley Fields, no other parent will allow their daughter to go there.” So I was sent, alone, with just my clipboard and paper. I later learnt that Horseley Fields was part of the red light district.
I remember after the first London Marathon in 1981 I told a friend that I fancied running the following year, they laughed at me. I never considered running again.
I have continued to walk. I walked while pregnant, I walked with prams, pushchairs and baby carriers with children on my back. I walked them to school and then walked to do my shopping. I love walking, sometimes I think I could be the Forest Gump of walking.
So after a life-time of life only running for a bus I have decided I need to stretch my wings and try a bit of running. The NHS reckon I can get from Couch to 5K in just nine weeks. Maybe it will take me a bit longer, but my aim is to be running 5K around the park by the time the Wolverhampton Marathon takes place on Sunday 6th September. I might not be entered for this year, but maybe, just maybe, I’ll be up to a half marathon by next year.