I am not a number, unless it’s 1


Number 1 and the whitest legs in the race. Thanks to Neil Grant for the photo.


I have a friend who takes it as a personal challenge to beat his race number, whether it can equate to a time or a position. He’s a very good runner, if he got number 2, he’d beat it.

There’s three main ways you get a race number in single figures, you can be an elite athlete, you can be the first to sign up, or, and this is where I come into my own, you can have a double A name. It’s sometimes a great advantage, though the downside is I often get phone calls from people’s pockets as their loose change dials the first person in their address book, usually me.

At this year’s John Carr series,  run in memory of a Saltaire Strider who died too young, I am number 1. Even better, it’s a series of three 5k races, so I get to be number 1 three times. Noel’s number 2, the story of his life.

Of course I don’t make a big thing of it, there’s no expectations of coming first, not even in my age category, not even in the red hat group and that is a very small and select group. But it does feel good to be a number one, and it probably weighs less because it doesn’t have as much ink. Maybe I’ll run faster, I certainly went for it at the end. Though as it’s a series of three races, a week apart, it doesn’t do to go all out on the first week. I think that’s when number one comes into its own. Let’s see, eh?

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