They say you turn into your parents eventually.But if that’s the case, my transformation is a pretty circuitous route – my dad preferred darts to running, five pints instead of 5ks, the Sun on Sunday instead of the Sunday Times…

You get the picture – similar but different.


But type two diabetes and a major operation following a bowel cancer diagnosis had forced him to look again at his lifestyle.

That condition and the help he received was one of the reasons I decided to raise funds for Bowel Cancer Research when I did the Edinburgh Marathon.

You can find out a bit more about it here.

This week was his 72nd birthday, one doctors told him he would never have seen if he hadn’t had the operation.

In fact, he would have been dead in a year.

So happy birthday dad, I said as I popped round with his card (the present is coming on Sunday with a lunch out). My sister had already got there with a Marks & Sparks jumper (hastily bought apparently..:) )

“I’ve got a virus on my phone,” he says. “It’s something you shared on Facebook, from your running blog.”

“What? Who told you that?”

“The woman in the phone shop, you need to check your phone.”

“But what did you download?”

“I don’t know, she thinks it was from your blog. Mum’s got it on her phone too.”

That raised alarm bells. Had I been hacked, and been the unwitting pollutant of my friends’ Facebook accounts, with what as it turned out was X-rated material?

Mother was looking at her phone too.

“When did this start,” I ask.

Sister steps in to help (despite the jumper).

“It’s probably something you’ve both downloaded,” she says.

“I got a text from my friend the other day,” mum says. “I asked her how her foot was. Funny she never said, but she sent a text back saying had I heard her news about her winning £80,000…. And I texted back ‘no, and that must be nice, think what you could you do with that sort of money’. Then I asked her about her foot again.

“And then she texted back saying would you like to know how I did it, and there was this link…”

Of course. And so the penny dropped – all 80,000 of them.

“Cheers,” I say. “Thanks for blaming me there then.”

“I wasn’t blaming you! I just said the woman in the shop said you needed to get your phone checked.”

Quite right. Many Happy Returns dad!