Cracker by Damian Christie


Mo' Better Reason

Two big things happen this Sunday.

The first is that I'm going to attempt my first long-distance run. It's "only a half" marathon, but for someone who absolutely detested running at school – I was so slow that growing up in Singapore, sweltering runs down to the swimming pool were all the crueller in that by the time I got there, everyone was being told to get out and change for the ride home – it's something of a masochistic personal victory.

I really only want to do it because I've never walked over the harbour bridge (and as that's about the 15km mark, walking's probably exactly what I'm going to be doing) and it seemed like a good opportunity. Also, after doing a six-week detox for Metro a while back, booking in another short-term fitness goal seemed a good way to stem the inevitable undoing of all I'd achieved.


It didn't work of course, especially as the first run of a fourteen week training programme (thanks for the loan of the book Mr Slack, I'll get it back to you on Monday) saw me pull up lame with an inflamed bursa in my heel. Boring story, but basically limping and physio for six weeks. Then Indonesia for a couple, where I almost died twice trying to run in 30 degree heat while smoking cheap Asian ciagarettes. And then back home, to condense the 14 week training programme into three weeks. Or rather, ignore the advice of Mr Jon Ackland, author of "Half Marathon: Week-by-week coaching system" entirely, and design my own schedule:

Week 1: Run a bit to check that I still can.

Week 2: Run a bit more

Week 3: Just when I should be winding down, run further than I've ever run before, but still only half as much as I'll need to on Sunday.

I reckon I could market that. Especially if it works, and I can complete the damn thing. Who wants to faff around with a 14 week training programme when they can do it in three? Exactly.

Wish me luck.

Secondly. For the first time, I will be taking part in Movember. Previous attempts have been thwarted, generally because people look a bit dumb while in the process of growing facial hair, and when you're on the telly, apparently, that's not on. If you want to grow facial hair, you've got to do it in your own time, and then come back and surprise your boss with a completed beard or mo. And even then they can, and probably will, tell you to lose it.

I remember trying to grow one a couple of years ago when I was working on Close Up. I argued vigorously with my boss at the time. It'll be great, I said, I can do a story on it, first hand experience, mo-diary, what have you. "Movember is stupid" he said, or words to that effect. 30 days later, as seemingly ever other man in the country was sporting a mo, he ate his words, and commissioned a story on the closing party. Sure, I could gloat, but without a mo myself, it was a bitter-sweet victory.

So this year I don't care. I think my show's producer said it was okay, but whatever. I've announced it on the telly, so I can't back down.

The most important thing about Movember however, is not growing the mo. It's about raising the money. As my mate Jim, who's one of the original Mo Bros (from Australia, you know) says, if you grow a mo in Movember without registering and raising a bit of cash, you're just someone who wants to look creepy to his workmates.

As appealing as that is, I've registered anyway. And I would gratefully appreciate your donations if you can. Seriously. Even a couple of bucks. Especially if, like me, you're someone who does okay on the money front, and thinks it's a great idea to donate money to good causes, but never does. If that's you, chuck in $50. Go on. It'll assuage your white middle class male guilt. Donate here.

The other thing I want to try and encourage, is for JOHN KEY to join me. Now, I know that John's made some supportive comments about Movember, and that's great, it really is. But supportive comments are a dime a dozen, and I think our Prime Minister really ought to put his upper lip where is mouth is. After all, he's shown he's not afraid to make a bit of a dick of himself for any number of reasons, and those things weren't even really for a genuinely good cause. Not like prostate cancer and men's mental health awareness. Wouldn't it be awesome to have our big-gay-out-dancing, blue-cast-wearing, hula-dancing, muscle-shirt sporting, Letterman-appearing Prime Minister sport a bit of facial fuzz for a month? Goooooo on John. If you do, I'll personally donate $500 to your Movember profile.

I've even set up a facebook group to encourage people to help encourage John. You know what to do.

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