Extra Virgin October 2009
Editorial

Blood, Sweat & Tears - Matthew Freemantle

I am not what you would describe as a physical machine. My dad was, which makes it worse. Its like Apple following the iPhone with the release of two tin cups attached by a long piece of string. He was built like Hercules. I am built like Billy Elliott.

That’s not entirely true. I am fitter than most and do work out occasionally. I have even been known to go to gym. Recently I spent five months frequenting an outside gym where I would do pull ups while passers by looked on. I liked to think they had their phones out to take pictures. The reality was probably that they felt they should be ready to call the ambulance.

I got fit. Or, I got fitter. That made me drink more water and eat more vegetables. I drank less alcohol and, oddly, watched less television. I read and played tennis and walked over bridges smiling at people. In short, I improved. Working out and being fit made me happier. It seemed simple.

Only it’s not simple. Not at all. It’s difficult to get fit. You have to sweat, and bleed, and wear stupid shorts. Sometimes you have to do pull ups facing a friend and, frankly, nobody wants to see their friend like that, face twisted in anguish and moaning in an eerily sexual way. Trust me, it’s awkward.

I watched the London Marathon this year. If you get the chance, wait for the stragglers - they are far more interesting. People dressed in hippo outfits grimacing under the weight not only of their costume but their crushing regret. “It seemed like such a good idea at the time”, you hear them repeating. “Help".

This month you can win a place to run in the Virgin London Marathon 2010 and remember - things like hippo costumes are optional, you are quite entitled to run the marathon not dressed as any creature at all. In fact, it is not even compulsory to wear poly shorts. Or a watch strapped to your bicep. When I see people doing that I want to say: I’m not sure you’ve grasped the key value of a wristwatch. I never do though. Billy Elliot seldom wins fights.

Matthew Freemantle
Editor


 


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