Can I tell you a story?
His name was XT, because he liked to run alongside my husband and his friends when they went mountain biking (and XT is a type of mountain bike component).
He had big ears. And he was a good dog.
He had a bad start in life, but made up for it later on. He liked running.
And playing rope.
And going for long walks.
One day, when he was about 10 years old, he felt a bit funny in the head. He ate his dinner, played a game of rope and then lay down for a sleep.
He didn’t wake up again.
That was on July 12th last year. With a broken heart, the following day I did the only thing I could think of which would hurt my legs and lungs enough to match. I ran the inaugural XT Memorial Mile at our local running track. It was pouring down with rain and all I could see was black and white: the painted hurdles, the lines of the track, a magpie. With my husband on the stopwatch, I ran until I thought I’d throw up. I told myself that, if I ran under 6:30, the vet would call and tell us it had all been a silly mistake. I ran 6:30, and the vet didn’t call.
Today, I ran this year’s XT Memorial Mile. It’s actually the most important race of the season for me. This year there were no other entrants, no time-keeper and the only spectators were a young boy practising his sprint starts and a woman doing something funny with a skipping rope in the outside lane. But I had all the motivation I needed.
I ran 6:36, then sat on the grass and got a bit sad.
Then I got over it and went home: after all, there’s a brown stripey dog here who was waiting for his game of football.
Perhaps next year you could run (or walk) the XT Memorial Mile with me? It will be on 13th July. It doesn’t matter what time you do it in, or where you do it. Will you join me? Let me know by leaving a comment…