While one of my friends is obsessed with sport to such a degree that he managed to arrange a visit to the athletics world championships in Beijing during his honeymoon, another regularly tells me he can’t stand sport of any kind.
I’m somewhere in between, having spent enough on London 2012 tickets to leave a large hole in my bank balance, but despairing of the amount paid to some talented young footballers who can eenthral a stadium with their skills, but seem incapable of behaving decently.
I should confess that my own sporting life has not been full of glory. As a youngster I dreamed of playing full back for the Scottish rugby team but shortsightedness and a lack of speed meant a few games for a school side was as far as I got. I was similarly unsuccessful at golf before I rediscovered running at University. At school running was something to be endured once a week, whether it was cross country in the winter or pounding round a grass athletics track in summer behind much faster boys.
Freed of the restrictions of school, however, running became an escape as well as a way of keeping fit.
For Jo Pavey, running is a lifelong obsession, an itch that constantly needs to be scratched. At an age when most sports people have turned to coaching, punditry or anonymity away from the floodlights, she has continued to compete at the highest level. At the age of forty she won her first ever championship medal, becoming European 10,000 metre champion. Remarkable enough, but the win came within months of having her second child.
In `This Mum Runs’, Pavey reveals that as a toddler she never stood still, and although injuries and the like have interrupted her running career, she has kept going ever since.
While some well known athletes seem to enjoy careers that see them progress from success to success with apparent inevitability, that’s not the case with Pavey.
Her story is testament to power of believing in yourself, of continuing to follow a dream even when it might seem hopeless. If you know someone who used to enjoy sport but now says they are `too old’, this book could change their mind.
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