At the gates of hell

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

“I won’t back down, no I won’t back down

You can stand me up at the gates of hell

But I won’t back down’

– ‘I won’t back down’ – Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne

There’s just six weeks to go till the Miles for Smiles 10k fund-raising run in Dubai on behalf of cleft charity The Smile Train. All around the travel retail globe, more than 50 industry executives are in various stages of training to ensure they complete the journey and deliver on the support of their sponsors.

It’s time to get serious about this. Last night I opted for a radical change in my training diet – while staying with my proven regime of grape juice and water blended (with just a smidgen of alcohol thrown in), I changed the colour of the juice to red. Yes fellow runners, Villa Maria Syrah from New Zealand is not only good for your heart but it actually makes your legs go faster. I promise. Especially if you top off the evening with a good Cohiba Edmundo as I did, just to get the lungs going.

Today on the dreadmill down in The Moodie Report Worldwide HQ (‘The Shed’), I burned off 992 calories, which I reckon is that bottle of wine, that Cohiba and most of my excesses of the past week all wrapped into one. Who said running isn’t good for you?

Last weekend in Dubai I became truly downhearted about my training after speaking to a fellow runner, Sinead El Sibai of Dubai Duty Free (pictured below). She told me she runs on her dreadmill with the speed set at 9.

9!! I subsequently tried 9 and nearly flew off the back of the machine.

Sinead is a danger to all runners, for you know what else she told me? “Martin, you must use the incline on your treadmill.” The incline??! Remember my analogy with the dark and sinister room at the top of the stairs that no-one is allowed to enter? Well my advice remains firmly unchanged – do not go there.

Alas, I did. I tried running with the incline set at a gentle 0.5. If you like jogging up the Matterhorn in snowboots, then you’ll enjoy the experience. If you don’t, you won’t. Decline that incline – now!

I’ve decided that while I’m not going to finish this run quickly, I am going to finish it. So speed, which may have been the essence of my rugby career as a chicken-legged fly-half many years ago, is no longer even an element. Therefore it’s all about endurance.

So my further advice to my fellow runners is – slow down. What’s the rush? I think that was the tagline of a Jameson whiskey campaign a while back. I wonder if I can get them to sponsor me? I could even sup their product on the way round. “On the rocks Mr Moodie?” they would ask. “No, just down on my luck,” I would reply.

I figure that at my current training pace I will complete the 10k in Dubai in around 90 minutes. I won’t of course be able to count on my current props – handlebars to lean on, a road that thoughtfully moves under your feet, and the collected works of Warren Zevon, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan (don’t listen to his early stuff, you’ll never move beyond walking pace) to keep me company and my Blackberry to read when I get bored.

I will of course have the company of a few other runners – or, more likely, the walkers from the 5k event. The organisers tell me that the field has raised way over U$100,000 to date but there’s still plenty of time to support me ( or any of the other runners and walkers in this Field of Dreams.

[Postscript: Today I managed 8k on the dreadmill. Fortunately I type with my hands not my legs or this would be my last Blog as I now cannot move. Embarrassingly it took me 71 minutes and 51 seconds. Come 22 November I may just have to hitch a lift with Sinead El Sibai.]

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