‘It’s no longer enough of a challenge to just do a long run’

Jimmy Mac is getting ready to run the Bungay half marathon with a fridge on his back. PHOTO: Nick Bu

Jimmy Mac is getting ready to run the Bungay half marathon with a fridge on his back. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

It used to be enough of a challenge to run a significant distance.

At school, most of us - except the strange few with legs like a gazelle's and the stamina of a migrating cuckoo - hated cross-country.

It was cold, muddy and painful.

So you would think that when we were grown up, we would exercise our freedom from the tyranny of PE teachers by thumbing our nose at long-distance runs and other lung-bursting lunacies.

Not so. Instead, we seem to be gripped by an obsession with mind-boggling challenges.

Everywhere you turn, someone is 'doing the Three Peaks' (I confess, I did the Yorkshire version, and it nearly crippled me), straining every sinew in Tough Mudder or a similar obstacle course / torture chamber, or doing a triathlon.

Crikey, even Jo Brand was in on it when she walked from coast to coast for Sport Relief.

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None of this is enough, though. For there are also people like Jimmy Mac, who is running the Bungay half-marathon.

To me, that is impressive enough, as I'd need an air ambulance tracking me if I tried it.

But he is going to make the 13 miles just a tiny bit more tricky by carrying a fridge on his back. Freezer jolly good fellow.

I thought Hughes did home delivery, so I'm perplexed. And surely he could've carried his packed lunch in a satchel?

In all seriousness, it is an impressive thing to attempt. And it is yet another example of how people are having to do value-added challenges in order to catch the eye of the 'just givers'.

A simple - yeah, right - marathon may soon not be enough to impress potential sponsors.

Instead, it'll have to be a marathon walking sideways while carrying a nest full of wasps.

Or we will have to trek to Everest base camp on a pogo stick, dressed as an Elizabethan squire.

I'm also looking forward to watching the first person to do a triathlon in high heels.

It all makes for some entertaining sights. But where will it end? It wears me out just thinking about it.

•The views above are those of Steve Downes. Read more from our columnists each day in the EDP.