The London Olympics are less than two months away and the government machine is trying drum up enthusiasm within the souls of a nation of island complainers, pessimistic about the reality of the Olympic legacy but who also find public transport gruelling and delay-ridden enough without the added injection of tens of thousands of tourists, athletes and LOCOG officials making their way to the various facilities that will turn London and many other areas of the country into Apoca-lympic chaos for the best part of six weeks, (that's the Olympics and the Paralympics combined) and with regular stories in the news about obesity, footballers and marathon runners having heart attacks and the exponential explosion of reality TV shows. One could say that we are generally a nation of couch potatoes.
But this is simply not true and for the runners of Britain there is an Olympic shaped chance to do the one thing we love doing - run for no apparent reason. Ten days after the Olympic torch began its relay from Land's End, an alternative relay started - aptly named 'the Real Relay' this event allows those of us who enjoy tearing up the pavement to run our own torch relay. This event has all the hallmarks of the Olympic Torch relay; the same route and a ridiculous baton. But unlike the torch run - there is no support network, no media attention, and no walking.
In many ways this challenge embodies the spirit of the modern Olympics as the participants are all amateur athletes. Of course the problem with this having little publicity and reliant on people volunteering to run legs is that the relay is always dangerously on the verge of hitting the proverbial runners wall.
So why get involved, why run down the street at 2am, totally anonymous, carrying a large white baton, and hoping that the person running the next leg will be there? As always, the answer is why the hell not? This, in a way, is a chance for the average trainer jockey to take part, even a small part in the Olympics and even if the press coverage is minimal and that running through the streets of London, Birmingham, Manchester, or whatever hamlet, village, town or city you happen to be draws the unwanted attention of drunks and dog walkers, at least if the baton makes it to the opening ceremony you can say "I helped make that happen".
Ok. So I may have disappeared quite far up my own arse just then, but if Asics can do it then so can I. Runners of Britain, I really really want the chance to have a stab at this race and if more people don't get involved it may never make it down to London, at all. Check out their website and I'll see you at the change-over.
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