It was a race that I knew I could never win, but that was going to stop me believing. The memories of my start are vague, yet my parents, who were there, said it started with a bang. At the halfway stage, where I hit the 20 mark, I looked at all those around me and felt that I was doing well. I was still accelerating. No sweat.

Then it all happened so quickly – too quickly. Glancing over my shoulder, I could see the number 38 fading away in the distance. No worries though: I was timing on a calendar, not a watch. I tried to go faster,  but whatever I did, 40 was catching up on me. I was overtaken by age. I’d become a vet.

Now, new dreams can start. Surely, I will win the first race as a vet. I will be the youngest in the field. New trainers, new outlook and a new category. In this race, I am not going to show any charity or age concern. This is going to be my first prize. Definitely. So I iron my kit, iron my wrinkles and plan how I can run flat out, however steamy the going gets. I will have one lap of Lake Coniston to sail past the opposition. One chance to show that I am still a member of the youth club. This is going to be a piece of Kendal Mint Cake.

At the end, I remembered what I had forgotten – everyone is getting older.

The young guns, who were firing faster than me before, were now the old guns who were still quicker on the draw.

It had been my best shot.



Published: Runner’s World