In the 80s and 90s no one ran. Indeed, running as we know it today just didn't exist, it was a profession rather than a pastime, and one that was reserved almost exclusively for Olympic athletes.
The rest of us could only watch on TV once every four years, unless, that was, we were part of a mysterious cult of middle-aged health fanatics and mid-life crisis candidates. Sporting a colourful collection of tracksuits, short shorts and sweatbands, they were known throughout the land as 'joggers,' and most of us were definitely not members.
Jogging was the running of the 80s and 90s, the embarrassing older brother of the sport we know and love today. It was much derided and misunderstood at the time, largely because so few people did it. Running for fun was a concept that few people embraced, it wasn't cool during an age when exercise was undergoing a revolution; aerobics classes were booming, home-based exercise was being bossed by Mr Motivator and Jane Fonda was shifting more VHS tapes than BHS was chinos.
Then, at some point in the early 2000s all that changed. People stopped jogging and started running. Folks no longer went for a jog around the block, they went for a run, to get sweaty, to challenge themselves, to go faster and further. And society's perceptions slowly began to shift, running became popular, very popular, and as it did we became more accepting of the increasingly diverse people who took it up. Running events boomed, gear and equipment became both common place and high-tech, and the sport became accessible to all.
Today I am proud to call myself a runner, which is why it came as such a shock when I ran past a woman walking her dog the other day and she yelled; "out the way of the jogger, Toby!"
"I beg your pardon," I was tempted to say. "It's 2019, not 1984, I'm running the London Marathon don't you know, not jogging it!"
But of course I ran on and didn't look back, the comment playing on my mind for the remainder of my, um, run. Maybe I am a jogger? I grew up in the 80s afterall. Perhaps my getup and gait says 'jogger' more than 'runner'. Or maybe I'm just not fast enough!
No, wait, all this training, all the technology, I am a runner and I always will be, Strava says so! So, madam, please don't mistake today's hard working runners for the shell-suited, high-kneed pavement pounders of yesteryear. We're modern day marathoners and very proud of it indeed.
Now then, where did I put my Walkman and Duran Duran Greatest Hits double cassette?
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2017 and am running the London Marathon 2019 for Prostate Cancer UK. Please sponsor me at www.justgiving.com/runtimborun2019