Running is dangerous. Fact.
Running hurts. Fact.
I go running. Fact.
Running endangers and hurts me. Fact.
I have been running for about seven years (when I say running, I don’t mean personal bests and marathons or anything, just ordinary half-hours or so of lumping my bum round the streets). In that seven years I have had so many mishaps I wonder why I don’t just pack in the whole damn thing and take up a less perilous form of exercise, like mountaineering.
I have done the usual tripping up and down kerbs, the stumble on the twisted ankle, the wrong turn down an insalubrious alleyway (they are pretty much everyday occurrences whether I’m running or not).
But then there is the next level of calamity. The ‘I Wish I’d Stayed In And Watched Cowboy Builders’ calamity.
Things like running straight into a Give Way sign. Or falling up a grass verge and landing face down in the mud. Or trying to discreetly remove a wedgie, tugging too hard and exposing half my bum to a mother and three small children. Or misjudging the height of a kerb, running off it and collapsing into a twisted cross-legged position like some frantic sweating Buddha. Or zoning out and not realising I was running straight through the middle of a gypsy camp until an old lady waved a saucepan at me, and I noticed I was in a field full of caravans.
Or doing the longest comedy fall in the world in front of a load of summer evening drinkers: running along Kingston riverside I clocked a woman with a Yorkshire terrier on the end of a long lead just ahead of me. Please please please don’t fall over the dog I said to myself. I made a perfectly judged leap as sprightly as an antelope over the dog lead, clearing it by miles. Landed awkwardly on my right foot, my knee buckled, and I did a running comedy fall, getting lower and lower to the ground, not quite able to straighten up again, for the length of three benches and a cafe window until I realised I’d be running like this for the rest of my life unless I stopped, stood up straight, and started again.
Then there is the highest level of doom. The ‘I’d Rather Saw Off My Legs Than Ever Run Again’ incidents.
Like when I was chased by a fox.
Whilst running innocently along the pavement, something caught my eye: a fox in the road. Staring. I ran past it. It broke into a trot. It ran parallel to me. I sped up. It sped up. I sped up some more and it left the road and the bloody thing started chasing me along the pavement. I literally ran for my life. I sprinted faster than I’ve ever sprinted, all the time expecting a fox to suddenly attach itself to the back of my head and claw my brains out. It didn’t. When I finally looked back, at the end of the road and on the verge of a heart attack, the bastard had disappeared.
But the mother of all running mishaps is clear.
When the squirrel exploded.
A dark evening, running merrily under streetlamps. Around three minutes into the run, I looked down, mid-air. There was a dead squirrel lying on its back just under my foot. I was a millisecond too late to do anything about it. I landed smack-down on the bloated stomach of this deceased squirrel and the fucking thing exploded up my fucking leg.
I will never forget the sound it made: it was a POP and a FFLUUKKMPHH all at once. Squirrel guts up my leg. I screamed. I jumped up and down on my un-squirrelled leg, shaking my gutty leg in the air, screaming. For ages. What else do you do? On all those helpful running blogs I read, there was never a post that told you what to do if a squirrel explodes up your leg.
Eventually, I managed to kick off my squirrel-gutty-mucusy-bloody trainer and limped home crying. I destroyed my trousers. I spent about six hours in the shower. I went to bed with a pint of brandy.
So running is dangerous. Don’t do it. It’s ridiculous.
Just buy a treadmill, put it in your lounge in front of the TV and NEVER EVER LEAVE THE HOUSE.