I have a 10 mile race coming up next month in Brighton (writes Chris Broadbent), where I will get together with some old mates for the weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing the guys having not seen them for quite a while, with a few beers guaranteed to flow post-race.
The social side is the reason for getting together. But, blokes being blokes there is a definite undercurrent of competitiveness about it.
I'm worse than most blokes in this, but I never ever want to lose to my mates. I'm ashamed to admit I hold dearly on to this record but I have never lost a running race to a mate. Let me rephrase that. I am chuffed to boast that I have never lost a race to a mate. Get in!
One close friend in particular has been nibbling at my heels for years, but has never quite managed it. He had real grounds for optimism on one occasion when I vomited on our way to a race. Despite the sickness, I still had enough in hand. Even the time when I had a shocker at the Great Scottish Run and was a huge 20 minutes behind my typical time, he too had performed well below below par and was just behind me.
The Brighton event will be another occasion where I know my mates will be gunning to beat me. I will pretend not to be too bothered. But I would be gutted if they did. We will go through the usual routine of complaining of injuries and not having done much training. It's all part of the psychological warfare at our extraordinarily average level.
It's the type of silly testosterone-fuelled approach from mid-pack (not six-pack) men that probably inspired the glut of women-only runs. Silly it may be, petty even.
I could run awfully, way down on any PB time. But as long as I beat my mates, that's good enough. Men eh?