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RUNNING

I have been training for the Portland Marathon in Portland, Oregon. Over the five months preceding the Marathon I have been running through the woods and along the river in both Hampshire and Portland. Typically you build to running twenty mile runs, and, alas, in my case, to spending more time than I had ever planned going to the massage therapist and the physical therapist, and icing my legs.

It is striking how many Brits I've met on my training runs. I shall have the Union flag tacked to the back of my shorts tomorrow, and I hope that we Brits will encourage one another along the way. I know that there will be many Americans encouraging me, and responding very positively and warmly to the British flag.

It was Brits who established the Marathon's famous 26.2 mile distance (26 miles, 385 yards) as we mention in SPORTS & STYLE > The Marathon Race at the first Olympics had been set at 26 miles, in tribute to the distance between Athens and the location of the great battle of Marathon. In 1908, 385 yards were added to the Olympic Marathon, held that year in London, so runners could finish in front of the King and Queen in the royal box. Since then that magical .2 has made all the difference.

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