Running with the mingles

Thanks to Eileen Woodhead for the photo

It started as an itchy patch on my back, but soon turned into a painful rash. I pointed the finger of blame at my rucksack which had rubbed in all the wrong places as I tested it out on a recce for my favourite run, the Yorkshireman Half Marathon.

I couldn’t see it, so I asked Noel to carry out an inspection. ‘Eww, it’s gross,’ he announced unhelpfully as he backed away from me and headed for the spare bedroom to make up the bed, spraying disinfectant on the way.

Resorting to mirrors, spotlights and contortion, I confirmed Noel’s assessment, it was gross and probably wouldn’t respond to my usual treatment of ignoring something in the hope that it would go away. The GP confirmed what I suspected. Shingles. Shingles, I ask you, isn’t that something old folk get? Obviously not, though it’s fair to say I’m no longer in the first flush of youth. I’d read things about shingles, particularly its impact on taking exercise like, for example, an off-road half marathon that at 24km is more than a half marathon, with 650m of ascent and navigational challenges to boot.

“But I’ve a race to run in ten days, will be be able to do it?’ I asked the GP. Well, it’s important, I’d paid my entry fee and done a fair bit of (though not enough) training. Plus I’d heard that the tee-shirt this year was red. You can never have too many red garments.

There was no reason why I couldn’t run it, he said. Clearly he’s never seen me run, still, I’d take that, along with a course of anti-virals. Then the migraine came, I don’t ignore those any more either. So there I was with a migraine and shingles. Mingles. Sounds like striped potato crisps. Boy was I grumpy.

I had a choice, sit this one out, forfeit the entry fee and red tee-shirt and miss out on getting muddy in Bronte country, or give it my best shot in the certainty that I’d come in last, but hey, that’s not a first.

The picture says it all. I did it, I wasn’t daft, I’d promised Noel and friends who were touchingly concerned that I’d not do it if I felt ill. I wasn’t 100 per cent, but definitely over 50 per cent, so mingles or no mingles, I was there. It was a glorious day, I know the course so well and enjoyed the ups and downs, the mud and the peat, and the lovely people I met on the way.

Not my best result, but I did it, I loved it and amazingly, I wasn’t last, not quite. Take that, mingles.


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