In the beginning, there was a boy who hated running. He was six or seven or eight, and in school races he was always nearly last.

Amongst all the other kids, there was only Fatty Peacock who ever came in behind him. Laps of the playing field were torture then.

A little later, there was an older boy. He was thirteen or fourteen or fifteen, and every winter felt just the same. Playing rugby in the cold and wind, with frozen hands trodden on beside the scrum.

There was only one winter he half-enjoyed – the one he chose cross-country. They ran six miles, seven or eight, around ploughed fields and chilly lanes, and he always ran home last. But he finished somehow, all the same.

Some years after, there was a young man. He was twenty one or two or three, and he was always outside playing sports. And he enjoyed them all – except for running down to rowing. He was always last to reach the boathouse.

Much later, the man was thirty five or six or seven, and he was still out playing sport, when he could, but now he ran as well. And as more years passed, he realised that it was running which gave him time and space to think.