Confession time: I hate running. Always have, always will.
If we were meant to run, we’d have been born with four legs like a racehorse. Basic biology.
Unless it’s chasing a football around a five-a-side pitch, I just don’t see the point.
But all that’s going to change in the next couple of months.
In 124 days’ time, I will be attempting to run the inaugural Jane Tomlinson Pennine Lancashire 10K, along with thousands of others from East Lancashire and beyond.
Today is the start of my countdown to the big race.
Today is when the training starts.
Today is when I take to the streets, grinding out the miles in sub-zero temperatures.
Today is when the takeaways stop, the beer runs dry and the wine is poured down the sink.
Today is the day I transform into a supreme athlete.
This is the story of the battle between good and evil: The choice between a jog round the block or a bottle of Kronenberg; a dozen push-ups or half-a-dozen poppadoms; the trainers or the slippers.
During the next few months, join me on my journey to the starting line.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
The event: The Jane Tomlinson Pennine Lancashire 10K, organised by Run For All.
The date: Sunday, July 11, starting from Witton Park, Blackburn.
The charities to benefit: The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, which supports children’s and cancer charities, as well as The Christie, COCO, Derian House and East Lancashire, Pendle and Rossendale hospices.
The runners: There are 5,000 places available for entrants of all abilities, from the age of 15.
Me: Sports Editor of the Lancashire Telegraph, aged 43.
The aim: To finish the race in less than an hour.
I’ll be raising money for East Lancashire Hospice – my wife Sharon is fund-raising manager there – and the one thing for certain is that I have to finish, even if I have to crawl around on my hands and knees.
If I don’t complete the course, I don’t get the sponsorship cash, that’s the deal.
For a huge percentage of entrants, this will be their first 10K event.
And for most, the training has already started, even if it’s just been a token run in the park to satisfy the conscience.
My training schedule will be crammed between a full-time job at the Lancashire Telegraph and juggling a family.
When you get home at 7pm after a 10-hour shift, the last thing you want to do is put on a pair of training shoes and start heading for the hills.
All you hear are the piercing screams of ice-cold beer from the fridge.
This is the journey of a fortysomething dad ready to go head to head with those temptations.
Will I be lining up with a six-pack or a belly full of six packs?
Follow my regular Running On Empty blogs on this site to find out.