I hated running.
For years, I could not understand what would drive someone to go for a jog, let alone take on a five- or 10-kilometre race or a marathon.
Part of my hatred for running goes back to my school days and physical education classes. We were told to run, but we were not told how to run. I do not remember anything about pacing, stride or anything else which would have had us running safely and efficiently. And so running became a drudgery.
Walking was fine. Bicycling was enjoyable. Running was evil.
A few weeks ago, Dale MacDonald, Summerland’s recreation director, asked if I would be willing to take part in this year’s Giant’s Head Run in a media challenge against Dave Crompton, sports editor of the Penticton Herald.
The race would be the 5.4-kilometre loop, not the longer 10-kilometre loop.
And the loser would present the winner with a medal.
Almost as soon as I had agreed to this challenge, I wondered what I had been thinking.
The endurance would not be a problem. Walking and cycling had prepared me for that part. But running would be a new experience.
I talked about the challenge with a neighbour who also happens to be an avid runner. She gave me a training schedule, told me to get a new pair of shoes and took me out on a training run so I could understand how it worked. I learned more from her than I had learned in any previous gym class.
For the next several weeks, I was out on the road, three times a week, training. The training routine involved intervals of running and walking, with the run portion becoming longer over time.
The race on Saturday was almost anticlimactic. It was just another pleasant evening run, except this time there were more people and I was wearing a race number.
In the end, Dave finished second while I came in second last in our challenge.
Will there be a rematch, possibly the 10-kilometre course? That remains to be seen.
John Arendt is editor of the Summerland Review.