What exactly has the NHS got against runners?

Am I the only person who is habitually treated as if he’s been self-harming when he rocks up at casualty with a running injury? From what I hear from other runners I know, it’s pretty well standard procedure.

I have to ‘fess up that I’m not in the best possible mood to write this post tonight, as I’m currently clumping around the house in a ‘boot’ designed to take the weight off a stress fracture in my tibia.

Thing is, I actually first went to A&E with this injury nearly 6 months ago, telling them that I had acquired a stress fracture during a pre-marathon 18-miler. I was fobbed off on that occasion, and on several since; with the result that I’d been limping around for 5 months before the NHS finally caved in to my (slightly petulant) demands for an MRI scan, which revealed, and who’d have thought it, a stress fracture.

Frankly, I don’t know whose side the NHS is on. Salad-dodgers and smokers have literally billions of pounds and thousands of staff thrown at them; whereas those of us who take regular exercise receive only the most cursory attention when we limp into casualty wearing a sad face and a little pair of Ron Hill shorts.

Apathetic as I usually am to politicking and petitions, I’ve got a bloody good mind to start a ‘Look After Those Who Look After Themselves’ campaign, in a bid to make the NHS stop treating us slightly sporty types like second class citizens.

So, that’s it. I’ve had enough. I’m either going to round up some similarly sweaty oldsters and march on Parliament, or…I suppose…I could always sign up to BUPA instead….

Actually, that’s probably less hassle, isn’t it…


Tough Love for Running Injuries? It’s the only kind there is…

With the Edinburgh Marathon on May 27th in my sights, I’ve been gradually upping my mileage for some time now, in order to get it up from my usual 20 or so to around 35 miles per week.

As I’m now pushing 50, this has involved a great deal of pain in just about every joint, not to mention every tendon I’ve ever torn and every rib I’ve ever cracked.

Naturally, there’s nothing else for it but to carry on regardless, and hope that my chocolate ankle, marzipan knee and peanut-brittle lower back will eventually get with the programme; particularly as help and sympathy have been in pretty short supply from those around me. And not just from my long-suffering Good Lady Wife either: even my sainted physio has told me, and I quote, to  “man up and take some painkillers.”

And there you have it. Many years and many injuries later, the received wisdom of the ages is that biggish guys who are pushing 50 shouldn’t expect to train pain-free for marathons, and should instead turn to their only real friends in the world: Ibuprofen and Advil.

So as the sun sets over the beach, I’m about to lumber off into the night again, doped to the eyeballs and with that great BB King classic blasting in my ears. Nope, it isn’t ‘Into The Night’; it’s my other favourite BB track: ‘Nobody Loves Me But My Mother (And She Could Be Jiving Me Too).’

On the upside, however, my physio assures me that nothing major has gone wrong with the chocolate ankle, and she expects me to reach both the start and finish line in Edinburgh, God willing. So if there’s anyone out there who can spare a couple of quid for the wonderful Help The Hospices charity, I’d be eternally grateful if you could do so at my JustGiving page, where I’m hoping to raise at least £1,000.

And if you were minded to share this link with any generous corporate sponsors/suppliers of highly cushioned running shoes, that would also be great…