Forrest Gump is one of those engaging films that unpeels another layer every time you watch it.
One of the most memorable scenes is where Forrest feels he just has to run, sad after his sweetheart Jenny has moved on. So Forrest runs. And runs. And runs. For 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours, covering 19,000 miles across the USA several times. And then he stops.
I’ve never had quite that strong an urge to run, but just occasionally a jog near where we live, a session on the treadmill in the gym, or even a competitive 10k or 5k run gets the old competitive juices flowing.
A few years ago, I squeaked under a 10k tape in 44 minutes and 58 seconds, beating my target for that year by the tiniest margin. Much longer ago, before Forrest was even a character in a screenwriter’s imagination, I ran a few 10ks in the Bermuda International event.
And today, I ran the Charterhouse Club Trail Run for the first time, aged 58 1/2. Out of the three distance options – 5k, 10k or 15k – I was really glad I had chosen the shortest distance, after spending most of the week ill or entertaining….but certainly not training.
I breasted the tape – wheezing like a 70 year-old smoker with lung cancer, thighs and hamstrings as taut as Robin of Sherwood’s bow – in 26 minutes and a handful of seconds. Not too bad, considering my training-free week and the vicious, hilly course….but no need for Mo or Jess to feel threatened just yet.
Running is one of those things in life that you know is essentially pretty dull, but which at least gets the ageing limbs on the move again. The nervous anticipation before, and the pain during, an event is just about cancelled out by the satisfaction of completing a target, and by a few minutes of post finishing line endorphins.
Watching Forrest Gump run across the USA again is a whole lot more enjoyable…..