For me, these are words that have never really gone well together. Like “chocolate” and “hate”. Or “enjoyable” and “exercise”. But this year, I’m looking to change that.
A couple of months ago, I started eating healthily (well, a lot more healthily) and doing regular fitness sessions. A few weeks into my new regime, I was approached by a colleague and asked whether I would consider taking part in this year’s Maccabi UK community fun run. I found myself agreeing to run 5k.
“Whatever it’s like”, I thought to myself, “it can’t be worse than the last one I did. Besides, it will give me an incentive to continue to keep working out.”
That previous “fun run”, half a decade ago, was pure torture for a number of reasons. Firstly, it took place in Greenwich Park, which may not be the hilliest park in Britain, but probably makes it into the Top Ten list. Secondly, it was a Santa Run, with hundreds of us all dressed in costumes which were not, to put it mildly, exercise friendly. I survived, but my hat and bushy white beard did not, jettisoned at the nearest park bin. I doubt Maccabi runs include Christmas-themed apparel., so that’s good.
I’ve been exercising, but now I need to train, which means jogging, and that’s different. Up until now I’ve been able to hop on a cross-trainer, plug in my iPad, and attempt to distract myself. I’m not going to be jogging on a machine (I feel there’s something vaguely nightmarish about running and running but never moving from the one spot), so I’ll be praying for good weather over the coming weeks.
Then there’s the fundraising. I find myself reluctant to pester friends and family for money. When a request from people to sponsor their marathon is met with eye-rolling, how exactly is a 5k funding request going to be received?
But I’m sure some people will understand that it’s not so much about the distance as the effort. If you’re starting from basically nothing, a 5k is a worthy first hill to climb.
Primarily, it’s about me being healthier. I’ve already lost close to two stone, and feel a lot better for it (although as I write this, I’m planning to see a physiotherapist this evening, because I’ve twisted my neck. It wasn’t even while exercising, so I can’t blame it on that.)
I have now updated my philosophy; exercise has been promoted to “necessary evil”, from its former position, which was just “evil”. And while I still don’t believe that man should live to exercise, as my thirties loom ever-closer I have grudgingly conceded that in fact man should exercise to live.
Jewish Chronicle reporter Daniel Sugarman is training for the 5k Maccabi GB Community Fun Run 2018. Follow his progress over the next few weeks. Or join him by signing up for the Maccabi GB Community Fun Run here: http://www.communityfunrun.org