I’ve been round the block a few times you know

Runners head off on the half marathon.

Runners head off on the half marathon.

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Until recently I felt the act of jogging to be the preserve of the teenager.

Slogging around sludgy country trails in the rain wasn’t territory that a portly 40-something could encompass within his grasp.

In fact exercise in general was something I had relegated to the back of the memory.

I think in later years the sight of blokes running around in tracksuits conferred an air of the stereotypical nere-do-well gentlemen of a certain city of the north-west.

Lycra-clad cyclists and runners always gave me the impression they would secretly rather be wearing their mam’s tights.

But as my paunch expanded and my breath shortened I decided something would have to be done.

I wasn’t prepared to spend £400 on a gym membership.

No that would have to be syphoned off into the routine maintenance of the hungry bottomless pit of metal and rubber I laughingly call my car.

A friend of mine I noticed had suddenly fallen into the habit of entering first 5k and then 10k runs and tapping me for sponsorship.

He hadn’t stuck me as being particularly athletic, so I asked him what had given him the idea.

“Its’ c25K - an app on my phone.” was the answer,

It’s like having a personal trainer who guides you through from walking for 30 minutes, to running a bit, then gradually increases the running until you can run the entire five kilometres in 30 minutes.

So I tried it out and it wasn’t too difficult at first.

Through my smartphone headphones I have the voice of a haughty young lady exhorting me to stop and start and push my wheezing frame to greater glories around the streets of my neighbourhood.

After a couple of weeks, I decided to try our my new regime early in the morning before going to work.

And I found the experience strangely enjoyable, though I suspect it wouldn’t be in the pitch-black of sub-zero February.

Now I’m running the entire distance, albeit at a conservative pace. Halfway through, you realise that you feel much more alive and your newly-oxygenated brain can think more easily.

And a happy side effect is that I have lost nearly a stone, so running takes less effort than it did.

So its good news for a change and I’ve finally found a use for the confounded smartphone.

Normal ranting resumes now.

* Note to TV documentary makers. If you didn’t preview at was going to happen later on every two minutes, assuming I had the attention span of a goldfish and then abuse my telly and my eyesight with a bombardment of microsecond long flashgun photographs and subliminal psychedelic interludes, I might actually watch the results of your efforts beyond the first ad-break.