Even the hardiest couch-potato can hardly be unaware of the phenomenal rise of the Moonwalk. A mass participation event that really seems to have captured the public imagination and helped to inspire folk who wouldn't consider running a mile to walk a marathon.
I don't know whether it's the walking at night or doing it in bras but for whatever reason, over 10,000 women were walking the streets of Edinburgh last night, and not just in the "red light" districts. ;-)
When it comes to running I'm not a great fan of "big" mass participation events but you have to acknowledge the fact that they really do inspire folk to get involved and hopefully, some folk will continue to enjoy exercise and be inspired to stretch themselves further. Nothing's certain in life but it seems to me that they can be a great first step up.
So why am I talking about a walking event? Well, my wife Muriel took part in last night's Moonwalk and walked her first ever marathon. It took nearly 8 hours but she was significantly slowed by the fact that she was walking with a group of friends and that made overtaking very difficult. Running is expressly forbidden at these events which might seem a bit strange from a runner's point of view but probably helps to keep competition out of the event, something that I think would deter many potential entrants. The other factor that slowed her down was waiting 50 minutes, yes, 5, 0, minutes in a queue for a toilet at Silverknowes. It seems that the organisers have some lessons to learn about the provision of toilets for a female entrant marathon walking event.
Anyway, I'm really proud of her. My wife works full time and has had to fit in all the long training walks in at weekends and the odd evening as of course, being walks, they take *hours*.
Here she is (on the left) with two friends at 26.19 miles. Still smiling and braving the elements in her bra.