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19 MIN READ TIME

FIT LIKE

by Derek Bateman

I USED to run all the way to school and back again. I was either a Wells Fargo rider bringing the mail or a Border Reiver escaping the English. Sometimes I was a British Marine running from the Nazis. I was unstoppable. I just loved running, not to ‘get fit’ since that concept hadn’t occurred to me. I did it for the joy of movement and the exhilaration of wild self-expression – like the religious one in Chariots of Fire. It felt like something I’d been gifted, uniquely from everyone else. I had been granted wings.

Of course this was all done in school uniform and Start-Rite leather sandals. Nobody wore sports gear on the streets in those days – you’d be laughed at if you’d appeared off the rugby field in white shorts - unless you really were an athlete like Jack Knox (if I recall) who was a dedicated competitive roadrunner in the town. Even he, though, often jogged in tackety boots to build up his leg strength. I had a dark blue cotton track suit completely unencumbered by corporate logos which I used when training with the local running club. I was very young but showed promise so they entered me in a mens’ mile at Hawick.

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