Active 2014

Why Austin Lafferty is in the running to get fitter ...

GREETINGS, fellow athletes.

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Evening Times lawyer Austin Lafferty gets to grips with his marathon training
Evening Times lawyer Austin Lafferty gets to grips with his marathon training

Yes, your Evening Times' legal adviser is indeed writing about sport.

Every Thursday for the next few months I shall talk health, fitness and physical exertion from the perspective of the ordinary Glaswegian.

OK, I am not a Commonwealth medallist.

The only thing lying on my chest is a Batman emblem on the T-shirt.

I am middle-aged (54), overweight and spend my day mainly office-bound behind a desk hunched over title deeds. So what can I contribute?

But that's the point. I am ordinary - like you.

If my body is a temple, then parts of it are a bit of a ruin. But let's worship a while anyway.

Let me spell out my credentials. I have done sport all my life.

I am currently a 3rd Dan black belt in karate and train every week.

I swim and attend the gym, I have played rugby (though to be fair I was in the Old Aloysian 3rd 15, only because there wasn't a 4th 15), water polo, and kick-boxing.

I cycle, walk, and have done lots of road-running.

And that is where this column comes in. In the 1980s, I got the marathon bug along with thousands of Scots, and ran three Glasgow Marathons. My best time was 3 hours 58 minutes, and after that I scaled back to half- marathons and 10Ks.

I kept racing going until into my late 40s, but have not run competitively in the last few years.

Now, Arnie-like, I am back - hitting the pavements on the South Side to train up for one more marathon.

The particular trigger for this has been that my daughter recently ran the Loch Ness Marathon for charity. Hannah, thankfully, has her mother's build (and looks, so there is a chance for her), and is a keen sportswoman, playing rugby for her university.

As she crossed the 26.2-mile finish, as well as our hearts swelling with pride, the atmosphere and achievement were seductive, and have got me going - literally - once again.

I am registered to run the Belfast Marathon in May, and am into my training programme.

This is the year of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and while not everyone can have a daughter's success to trigger them, we are all due a second look at health and fitness.

Obesity is an epidemic, but even without that, none of us are getting any younger, so keeping ahead of the Reaper and the doctor are more easily achieved by attention to the physicals.

As Doctor McCoy from Star Trek said in one episode when confronted with an alien race who were immortal: "I can tell you how to live longer - just eat right and do some exercise."

Wise words indeed. And now, I am off for a run.

And for good measure, I am raising money for the hospice movement, in particular St Margaret's Hospice Clydebank.

Check out www.justgiving.com/AustinLafferty

Sport

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Tips to help you keep active from the Glasgow Club

  • Be realistic about what you want to achieve
  • Build up the intensity and frequency of your activity sessions gradually
  • Find an activity which you enjoy
  • Exercise with a friend
  • Use the stairs as often as possible
  • Make active choices as part of your daily routine
  • Get out at Lunchtime! Why not go to the shops or park at lunchtime instead of staying at work? The walk will also make you feel more awake in the afternoon