The ballot has now closed for the 2017 London Marathon, with my entry once again amongst the hundreds of thousands of others, bidding for a place at next April’s starting line. As yet, I remain unsuccessful in my bid to run the prestigious annual event, but that has not dampened my spirits for another five months of waiting. Come October, I shall no doubt be greeted by a magazine through my letter box, consoling me for another unsuccessful attempt, however, this year I shall try my hardest to avoid the “All of Nothing” approach.

Upon entry last year, I began building up my training week by week in anticipation of being selected, even ditching my faithful running shoes for a pair of quality. The training was going well, everything felt good, when suddenly the bad news came. Just like that, everything stopped in its tracks.
“Why go through all the effort for anything short of the Marathon?” I’d think to myself. This was my goal and without it the training became meaningless. I slumped back into my sofa and spent the rest of my evenings watching Netflix and drinking semi-skimmed milk like an absolute animal. Having put on 4lbs and subsequently losing another 2lbs, it’s time to get back on the horse before this slippery slope becomes a mudslide. If I carry on at this rate, I’ll be a normal sized person by the time my daughter graduates.

The problem is staying motivated whist pushing myself to these uncomfortable distances. I like running 5KM because it’s fun, comfortable, and isn’t time consuming. It can be squeezed in at any time of day, leaving my schedule open for other important things in life, like ignoring my wife while I play Stick Cricket on my phone.

It’s always been an ambition of mine to complete the London Marathon, but should that day be a long way off, perhaps I could still satisfy these ambitions with other local events. A half Marathon would be the perfect stepping stone that I haven’t even fully considered, perhaps I should sink my teeth into one of these events before I bite off more than I can chew. Heaven forbid I should complete one of these races, knees shaking and on the verge of a mild stroke, just for me to realise that these distances are the stuff of nightmares.

There’s something about watching the likes of Mo Farah take on these challenges with such ease that makes me look on with confidence.
“How hard can it be?” I scoff, like every armchair critic in history. It’s this kind of attitude that will see me lying face down in a drain some day. Should I be successful or unsuccessful in my bid for the Marathon, I shall try my best to approach the future with the same attitude.
“Baby steps, Phil. Baby steps.”