Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaign: The Running Man; on Your Marks. Get Set. Go! Jon Tunney Embarks on a Sporting Challenge of a Lifetime

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Campaign: The Running Man; on Your Marks. Get Set. Go! Jon Tunney Embarks on a Sporting Challenge of a Lifetime

Article excerpt

THERE comes a time in every man's life when he has to do something utterly ridiculous. Something he would class as "life affirming" while anyone in full command of their senses would most likely describe it as a pointless and possibly dangerous waste of time.

It may or may not be a coincidence that this time often occurs as the man in question gets far enough up his 30s to contemplate not being in them any more.

As I studied a waistline expanded by the Christmas excesses of booze and food, I realised that time had arrived for me.

The grey hairs that started emerging some years ago, I can cope with. And, short of going for the shade of purple that only an ineptly applied dose of home man-dye can achieve, there's nothing much I can do about them anyway.

But the growing band of lard around my belly is something I cannot tolerate - spending the first 17 years of my life as a little fat kid is quite enough, thank you.

So as a journalist's wage doesn't stretch to sports cars and my mum would be really unhappy if I got a visible tattoo, I decided my "life affirming" event would have to involve a sporting challenge for which I was palpably unsuited.

What, I began to wonder, would happen if an overweight 33-year-old decided to propel himself 70 miles across a variety of terrain without the aid of any sort of internal combustion engine?

Throw in my history of Achilles tendon injuries and a proud tradition of not sticking to any long-term plan in the last three decades and you've got a bit of a challenge.

But, of course, it would be foolish to wade into a double triathlon without a warm-up, so I thought I had better throw in a half marathon, a duathlon and a common-or-garden Olympic distance triathlon as a trio of light appetisers.

Presuming I manage to avoid any potentially crippling injury over the next 12 months, I will top off my challenge next winter with an event consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. All immediately after each other.

Without stopping. On the same day. Hopefully.

Fortunately, I will not be taking on this ridiculous - sorry, life affirming - challenge unaided. …

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