I hate running but I’ve signed up to a 10k just to feel something - Alexander Brown

If you’re reading this, it’s too late. I’ve done it. Against my better judgement, I’ve done a 10k run.

Even worse than that, it was with other people, all wearing numbers like we’re serious athletes rather than idiots happy to fork out actual money just to run in open spaces we could use freely on any other day.

Now I know for some of you running might be considered a good way to keep in shape, a fun endeavour that allows you to experience the world and the great outdoors.

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To you, I say nonsense. It is a horrible way to spend time, grown men and women pounding the pavement until they feel they’re allowed to go home.

Runners jog past the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I cannot switch off and just get through it, no matter how good my playlist or how enthralling the podcast, I remain relentlessly focused on just how bored I am.

Don’t get me wrong, I like exercise. I’m pathetic enough to have a notebook to write my weights down on, I cycle everywhere and have gone through more fitness fads than a Love Island contestant.

It’s the horror of organised fun that isn’t, a sport where someone will win but most of the contestants don’t even try to.

It’s moving for the sake of moving, people who couldn’t find friends to play with putting themselves through a dull ordeal for the sake of a cheap medal so prestigious everyone gets one.

And yet I find myself having done it. Why? Because one of my friends asked me to.

He’s lived in a different city for the past few years, so like many others we haven’t been able to socialise, especially during the pandemic.

We all have friends who don’t live near, especially in cities, and the last two years have made that distance feel even greater.

For so long we only really existed online, with friendships maintained through endless Zoom quizzes, baking pictures or increasingly repetitive selfies.

I and my friends posted so much on social media in lockdown not because we had more to share, quite the contrary, but human touch and contact was so absent the validation or conversation sparked by pictures of our food or face was all we had.

But that isn’t enough any more. My generation has lost one of its hot years, it’s now almost an obligation to say yes to things.

Doing things outside our comfort zone or even geographical convenience is now a must, a boost for our friendships as much as anything else.

What argument is there against going out after a period where the social highlights were a few days of good lighting.

A house party more than 45 minutes from my flat? Sure! A double date with a couple I only like one person from? Absolutely! A run with a friend that will take an hour of my life and £25 of my income? Why not!

So I’m going to say yes to things, see bad comedy nights, have one too many in the pub and try restaurants that are as low as 4.5 on Google reviews.

I’m going running. I’m probably going to hate it. But at least I’ll have spent time with old friends who I can guilt into doing better things instead.

Alexander Brown is a columnist for Scotland on Sunday and Westminster Correspondent for The Scotsman