I like to wear a hat when I run – not least because I am ‘follicularly challenged’.
So for training runs and the Edinburgh Marathon I wore a Norwich City cap.
This had a number of side-effects.
Firstly, it made passers-by assume that I knew something about football beyond being an armchair fan.
Usually they were old boys walking their dogs or buying their newspapers as I came scampering past on a Sunday morning run.
“How are they going to do this week?”
“They’ll be alright, just need to stick with it/get another striker/shore up the defence,” I’d say safe in the knowledge that I could continue jogging without any risk of a follow-up question to burst the bubble of my assumed knowledge.
And in Edinburgh among the thousands taking part, the hat served as a homing beacon to two fellow runners I met on the way – one who was born in Wroxham and lived in London, and a second who was a teacher at Wensum Junior School.
Maybe that’s a Norwich thing?
How important is mental strength to get you through a race?
And in the last two miles of the run, it acted as a spur to some in the crowd to give me a much-needed boost to get to the finish line.
“Come on Norwich City,” they shouted.
I needed it too, because at mile 17 my body basically fell apart and I was barely able to put one foot in front of the other.
What things have helped you get through the wall?
Less generously, it may have singled me out as an idiot Sassenach to one old man as I limped past.
“You’re supposed to run you know,” he shouted.
Scottish humour – who knew?
So have hat will travel.
But a lot has changed since then. Back when I ran Edinburgh Norwich City were pushing for promotion to the Premiership. Now they look to be in Championship freefall.
So maybe I’ll just get my name printed on my running number next time.
And get another hat.
….Or may be I should just keep it, because where there is a hat, there is hope..