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When you’re a top-class athlete, every single gram of additional weight counts. Or so such athletes tell me.
Despite the achilles tendon-linked glitch in my training schedule for the ‘Miles for Smiles’ 10k fun run in Dubai on 22 November on behalf of children’s cleft charity The Smile Train*, I have been working hard on other aspects of my prepatory regime.
So it was off to London sportswear specialist Lilywhite’s this week to be fitted for a proper pair of running shoes that would not only protect my achilles, but would also propel me at acceptable speed – and with minimum additional weight – to the finishing line.
“Have you been on a treadmill before?” was the give-away opening line from the worried-looking South African sales assistant as I prepared to test out a range of shoes clearly chosen for the athletically impaired.
“A few years ago,” I muttered, untruthfully.
Politely the intense young assistant nodded and set the treadmill running. Narrowly avoiding an immediate nose-dive through the front of the machine – boy these things are fast – I did my best to adopt a Usain Bolt-like pose. Mind you the Jamaican sprinting star doesn’t need handlebars.
In less time than it takes the ‘Lightning Bolt’ to dash the 100 metres, the assistant had seen enough.
“These will be perfect he said.” Half expecting him to be pointing to a mix-and-match wheelchair and zimmerframe set, I saw him nodding towards my splendid burgundy and white (I like my running shoes to match my wine-drinking habits) Mizuno Wave Precision 9 footwear [my legs have been cropped out of the photo to protect the brand image].
Then, back in the office, the big breakthrough came – the one that will ensure I get across the finishing line ahead of fellow entrants such as John Sutcliffe of Aer Rianta International-Middle East and John Sime of Emirates. It came in the form of a press release from World Duty Free.
Of all the gin joints in all the world, I had never walked into one like this, especially at Heathrow Terminal 5. Had Diageo’s super-premium push extended to the truly high-brow? Was this the latest place to go on the lash? Confused, I read on.
The ‘Blink Brow Bar’ will offer ‘fashionable brow threads’ and ‘gentle rose gel massages’ to, wait for it… ensure that customers “take off with perfectly groomed eyebrows”.
What a revelation. Not only could it assist with airline weight load issues – imagine the fuel saving on a packed A380 if every passenger had a pre-flight pluck (see pictures below) – but it presented the defining moment in my new training regime.
With my eyebrows perfectly groomed, trimmed, rose-gelled and threaded come race day, the opposition will be completely demoralised. And certainly brow-beaten.
My wave precision and perfectly plucked condition will ensure I am carrying the absolutely minimum weight load to the starting line. And no-one, but no-one will dare raise an eyebrow in my direction.
Treatments cost between £17 (‘tidy and trim’) and £25 (the painful-sounding ‘eyelash lash and tint’) – less than a third of the price of a new pair of Mizunos. That is what I call a duty free bargain. I can feel my perfect take-off already.
[*I aim to raise US$5,000 for The Smile Train by completing the ‘Miles for Smiles’ run. Please consider sponsoring me at http://www.justgiving.com/martinmoodie]