The Road to London: Making a dirty video

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  • A weekly catch-up with Courier & Weekly News sports editor PAUL OKEY as he builds up to his long-awaited London Marathon debut.

“You don’t enter on the right-hand side.”

“You always go in on the left.”

“You need to give yourself some space.”

Just some of the countless words of wisdom I received in the pub and curry house on Saturday night.

Sadly, it was too late. I had already crashed and burned. Or more accurately, crashed and splashed.

I have run cross-country at Newbold Comyn before but never with the water-filled ditch in play. But how hard could it be? It’s not particularly deep, it’s not particularly wide and it’s not particularly intimidating.

Coming out the other side. Picture: Lou Smith

Coming out the other side. Picture: Lou Smith

But I reckoned without having already tackled almost 5k of undulating (read lots of steep climbs and sheer downhills), boggy, parkland.

I partly blame the guy in front of me (“give yourself space”) who paused on the downhill into the ditch. Forced to take evasive action, I immediately headed right (“you don’t enter on the right-hand side”) and plunged in. Trying to run through it rather than opting for a stable landing, my legs buckled and I was down. Always the crowd-pleaser, at least I gave the massed spectators something to cheer as I slid up the other side of the bank before picking myself up and carrying on my way.

Once out of view of prying eyes and a Knowle & Dorridge runner’s cameraphone, I gave myself a once over. Thankfully, the only damage sustained was to my pride, though my running vest is a write-off so I don’t want to speculate as to what makes up the contents of the ditch.

Approaching much more tentatively on the second lap, I gave myself room, entered on the left and exited without further mishap, much to the disappointment of an expectant crowd who will just have to console themselves with playing the video of the first attempt on loop.

Something Iris never seems to tire of doing, while also telling me how silly I was to enter the muddy, dirty ditch on the right.

Completed training:

Saturday: 2-mile warm-up, 10k XC (189th out of 236)

Sunday: 20 miles at 8:22 pace (Storm Ciara, beers and curry-affected)

Tuesday: Track: 1-mile warm-up and warm-down, 2x300, 1k, 900, 800, 700, 600, 500, 400, 2x300

Wednesday: 15 miles at 8:12 pace

Thursday: 2 miles @ 7.45, 2 miles at 6:30. 1 mile warm-down

Immodium use (running total): 7

Immodium fails: 1