When I told other people I wanted to run a marathon, they said: 'You're mad.' Runners are seen as eccentric, solitary and insular. Like the trainspotter at the end of the platform, marking down numbers: there are other people around you, but you're in your own world, concerned only with your own activity.
Whether my chosen sport guarantees me a one-way ticket to the loony bin. We'll never know until the men in white coats turn up at my front door and whisk me away from my half-eaten bowl of Crunchy Nut Clusters.
Running is hardly an enticing affair, once you've got to grips with the fact that it's just a bunch of people putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over. There isn't a lot else that it has to offer, aside from the dreaded 'jogger's nipple' and the assortment of unsightly shorts (of which, my dad has a somewhat sizeable collection).
Even on a good day, runners are seen as billy-no-mates, and I don't tend to have many good days. As I'm sure my girlfriend will attest, some of my facial expressions can be described as questionable and unflattering, even when I'm not in the midst of aerobic exhaustion. So I can scarcely imagine many people seeing me and thinking "he looks so cool, I think I'll give that a go when I get home."
There's even a book entitled "The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner" (Which is actually a very good read), and in some circles if you tell a potential love interest of your running pursuits. They are advised to steer well clear, because apparently runners are generally boring people who don't make friends easily and are in all likelihood, a bunny-boiler waiting to strike (again, I'll let my girlfriend be the judge of that one)
I can't even remember what it was that made me want to lace-up my size 9's, maybe it was that seeing as I'm not the most vertically gifted person, running may fool people into thinking "he's running pretty fast: he must have long legs, therefore he must be tall?" Disregarding my lunatic logic, it seems that whichever way you look at it, nobody actually chooses to be a runner, running chooses them.
To paraphrase one of history's most distinguished runners: Forrest Gump. Running is like a box of choc.... sorry. Running is like cleaning the toilet: nobody actually wants to do it, they just have to.