Inside this Month: Ankle-deep in cowpats

It won’t be the same watching That Theatre without Ian Burns, but it’s comforting to know he’ll be there setting the pace of Marathon (G3) from his off-track vantage point.

Burns raced cross country at a high level – like many actors, he excelled at many things as a youngster (our reprinted 2015 Rugby World Cup Wallchart reveals how he was a fearsome full back) – and draws on this to give the play greater resonance.

And as someone who vividly remembers being ankle-deep in cowpats, streams and even cattle-grids – anything to get an advantage – I’m really looking forward to the play. No track rivalry will ever beat Ovett vs Coe, but maybe this might come a close second.

Childhood preferences
Of course, what we did in our youth affects a lot of the things we enjoy today. I was fond of parkour (12), but back then we called it ‘breaking into the flat after accidentally locking ourselves out’.

And I also used to enjoy Halloween (G11 and 13) – our annual special executive order for counter-intelligence, terror, revenge and extortion on the neighbourhood. Although I don’t think I ever carved a pumpkin. Or saw one. I wish I’d blown one up though.

But that’s the nature of childhoods. Some things penetrate, and others don’t. If you’d asked me aged five who John Lennon (G6) was, I knew; but Lucien Freud (G4) and Bob Dylan (G7)… probably not until my 20s.

Some might call that La Traviata (G3), but what we don’t know won’t kill us.
And maybe somewhere out there was an exploding pumpkin with my name carved on it.