As I have said in this blog before, I am touched and humbled at the number of things you get asked to do as the editor of a newspaper.
To have the role of the newspaper recognised is something for which all of us involved are extremely grateful as it shows that the community appreciates the commitment we have to local life.
As such, over my years as an editor I have had the privilege of judging everything from a dog competition to a beauty contest, from hosting political debates to rock concerts and from opening everything from a fete to an Oxfam shop. All of these things, crucially, have not been about me but about the papers I represent – and I never take any of these kind invitations for granted.
However, I think on Sunday, March 6, I will top the lot.
For I am honoured to have been asked to start Bath’s biggest community event of the year – the half marathon with anything up top 15,000 competitors.
As far as I can tell, this merely involves getting the race going and making the shortest speech of my editorial career (here’s a sneak preview of it, it is ‘Good luck everyone!’) but I am genuinely moved that the paper has been asked to be involved in this way.
It will be particularly pleasing for me as I know a lot of the people who are taking part, all of whom are doing so for a wide variety of excellent charities. Indeed, my two most senior colleagues on the Bath Chronicle editorial team – deputy editor Paul Wiltshire and chief sub/assistant editor Graham Holburn – will be among those lining up at the start of the race, probably wondering how I got to do the easy, cushy job while they have to do all the running.
The truth is, and it seems a terrible admission considering the role I’ve been asked to perform, running and me have never been great bedfellows. During my occasional “gym’ll fix it” periods I find I am pretty good on the rowing machines and other cardiovascular equipment but when it comes to the treadmills, I walk very well, but the moment I start to run something weird happens.
I’m hoping therefore that from my position on Sunday I will be inspired to maybe see if I could get back on that running track again. I know so many people who have said that, like me, they never thought they could run but have then set themselves goals such as a half marathon and achieved it that it proves that no one should give up in this direction.
I’m sure Sunday will help to convince me that half marathons really are for everyone.
Of course, although I will know a number of people in the race I know that with so many others coming from outside the Chronicle circulation area, the vast majority won’t have a clue who that chap is setting them on their way. I fear, therefore, that as I am often compared to my “lookie-likies” that there will be people who will leave Bath thinking that the race had been started by Adrian Chiles, Boris Johnson or even Keith Chegwin.
So, I look forward to seeing a few of you on Sunday – I’ll be the one without the trainers.