I don’t know when it happened but I am now officially old. Given the choice between sitting in the sun or the shade, I realised the other day, I now prefer the shade almost every time. I don’t care about getting an uneven tan. Runner’s stripes, farmer’s arms and a baldy’s burn – who cares what you look like with your clothes off any more? And while everyone else is celebrating the belated arrival of summer (just in time for the double bank holiday, they think – when will they ever learn?), I’m praying for cloud and the occasional light drizzle because it’s better for the garden and for running.
I’ve done three events this week when it was far too hot: the Serpentine RC ‘last Friday’ 5k, when the temperature was raised even higher with a nattily gratuitous sprint finish; the Trent Park handicap 5k, which was mitigated by the fact that most of it takes place in woodland; and the Go Beyond Northants 35 on Saturday. It is an established fact that Northamptonshire farmers don’t believe in trees because they get in the way of their oilseed rape harvesters. So shade was at a premium for this one. My personal water intake on the day has extended the hosepipe ban into next winter. The ground was so baked that I did the whole course in trainers without them seeing so much as a hint of mud.
Next week is the Long Distance Walkers Association 100, from the Olympic Park to Windsor. I’ve sent a note to the organisers asking them to turn the heating down.