Back in 2006.
I had just won a competition promoted by a major shoe manufacturer (can you guess which one?) and had been awarded my prize of being kitted out for an all expenses paid trip to take part in the Chicago Marathon.
I was a runner.
Granted, I wasn't a fast runner. In fact I was a pretty slow one. But I was very definitely still a runner.
|Some of my medal haul|
I got my prize because shortly after the death of my father from bowel cancer I had taken up the sport, and lost five stone, and loved every moment as I tried to get fitter so (I hoped) the same fate didn't befall me.
I would run every day, sometimes twice. I would buy myself all of the latest gadgets to monitor and improve my performance. I would race virtually every weekend in at least a 10k but more often a half marathon.
Running was my number one pastime. I got to see some amazing places, what better way is there of running down the centre of New York's 5th Avenue or over the scenic bridges of Stockholm?
In many ways, and mostly for the better, running took over my life.
And then my life took over running.
I started a new job, I took more of a role in parenting my three children, I got involved in politics.
I had no time for running.
Ten years older, ten years more fatter, ten years more wheezy and, undoubtedly, ten years closer to the end.
Running has become something I did when I was young, something to look back on with fond memories.
But then, two or three weeks ago, an email dropped into my inbox. An email which in all probability should have gone into 'spam', but it didn't.
My daily newspaper, The Times, is sponsoring this year's Great North Run (my very first half marathon) and they had an allocation of places just for subscribers.
And in a moment of madness the years rolled back and I thought "what the hell".
I filled in the form and I entered my bank details and then a couple of days later I received this.
And now I'm part worried and part excited.
Can I get round without expiring on the John Reid Road? Has running changed? Can you still get shoes specially for fat lads?
But most of all does the thrill of crossing the finish line still feel the same? I bet it does.
And I've got seven months to find out. Seven months to lose weight. Seven months to see if my knees can take it.
Will I make it to the start, let alone the end of the world's biggest half marathon?
Only time will tell but I'm going to give it my best shot.
And I'm going to write about it here.
I'm fairly certain it's not going to be easy, but I'm also fairly certain if it pays off it will be worth it.
If you're interested please do keep checking back. It might give me a little motivation.
Who knows? It might give others a little inspiration.
See you on the trail!