Ex-smokers are some of the biggest anti-smokers, and in much the same way, this reformed couch potato steps onto a somewhat giant soapbox when it comes to extolling the virtues of regular exercise. I love running and what it has done for me. I sometimes think that if everyone ran a few miles a few times a week, the world would be a better place. But then I realise how evangelical I sound and I want to punch myself.

I know that the me of five years ago would have not taken kindly to anyone that recommended I sign up for a 10k race. And the thought that running round in the cold for two hours on a Saturday could be fun would have met with a furrowed brow and the palm of my hand accompanied by the phrase ‘talk to it’. So instead of boring all my friends to death with my running mantras and the number of miles I’ve clocked up this week, I blog.

But now a real-world friend of mine is starting running. He’s got previous form – the first 10k race I ever did was also his first dalliance with running. However he didn’t train nearly as much as he should. He completed it but promptly stopped running once he crossed the finish line and has barely put his trainers on in the three years since. But now, after countless texts and emails from me, sometimes encouraging, often nagging, he’s decided to give running another shot. Now he wants to go all the way – he wants to do a marathon. Why not think big.

We’ll be running this marathon together later in the year and I’m now his self-appointed coach. But, contrary to what he thinks – I’m not trying to get him fit to take on the marathon. My ambition is much greater than that. I want him to love running. I want it to become part of his life, to be something that, in a couple of year’s time, he couldn’t imagine not doing. If he can learn to love running, there’s no distance he can’t run. Because “he who runs for pleasure never gets tired.” And if I can inspire just one other person to run a marathon – that will be quite enough for me to give up the soapbox.

Janathon Day 22
Today I ran 4.25miles and needed the loo the whole way. Note to self: don’t drink a pint of orange squash before you set off. Schoolgirl error.