Widely considered a reckless decision at the time, in fact that unwise trip unearthed the missing mental sharpness which proved so decisive at Iffley Road in May 1954.
I’m far from certain that the same approach will work for me in the Almería Half Marathon this Sunday, even though I’ve had my own personal kind of mountain to climb this week.
A trip to Scotland with my back firmly against the wall.
Tuesday morning saw me leave for Aberdeen at 4am. No British Airways cooked breakfast or Udny Arms sticky toffee pudding in sight this time – just the bleak vista of a frozen Luton Airport at dawn and once again near midnight. That’s simply how life can be.
From the elegance of Carden Place, we walked back along the grandeur of Union Street. And then, as the light began to fade, it was fittingly my old favourite running route to Footdee which offered another stroll to fill the time before a taxi back to Dyce.
From Guild Street, out beside the docks, past the offshore supply vessels, all the moored-up tugs and drilling mud silos, eventually to reach the unlit gastronomic oasis of the Silver Darling.
Hiding, lurking and crouching still behind the seawall, she welcomed us amidst our tide of change, offering a welcome respite between the grey and chilly breakers and the brashness of Beach Boulevard.
She stands there proudly, with her back against the wall. Perhaps I understand her now – because this week, so did I.
And now to Spain and Almería. So pick it up amongst the wreckage, and start again. Because there’s a lifetime still left to run.