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London Marathon 2021: Saturday August 7, 23km

Running for South London Special League

Outside the conditions were wet.

Cloudburst, torrential downpour, heavy rain, mist.

Inside my head, I was deep inside the world of provincial Russia, listening to Michael Frayn’s radio adaptation of Anton Chekov’s Wild Honey.

David Tennant stars as village schoolmaster Platonov. He’s the man who seems to have it it all. Wit, intelligence, a comfortable and respectable life, and the attentions of four beautiful women.

Platonov tells other people how to live their life. When challenged on why he hasn’t made more of his own, he replies, “I lie here like a stone and people walk into me.”

Frustrated dreams, farce, tragi-comedy, life in all its varied colours constantly intervene.

Exactly the kind of recognisable, beautiful escapism you need when the rain keeps falling and you have 23km to run before home.

London Marathon: Monday August 2 – 15km

The run where I found that elusive, mysterious link between conditions and performance.

The right weather. A warm summer sunrise, the light sprinkling the Thames with diamonds.

The right music. Mathew Herbert’s 1998 classic Around the House

The right track: In the Kitchen

The right motivation: training for the London Marathon, fundraising for local charity South London Special League.

And I’m running strong and fast and nothing can stop me. Work worries, life worries – they all fall away for a little while.

And this is why I do this, why so many of us do this, to push ourselves, to motivate each other, to give something back.

Training Block 2 has officially begun.