I ran my first marathon – I think it was called the British Marathon – in 1979, when I was 18.
It went through Manchester and Bolton. It was in our last year at school and it was at the time when running was first becoming a popular sport.
We just decided – a group of friends and I – to do it. My girlfriend (now my wife) was due to meet me at the end. But she was late, and I remember finishing and being absolutely freezing.
They wrapped you up in bin bags back then, and I had nothing else to go over the top of me, waiting around in the cold.
Though we’re still together now, it was almost the end of our relationship!
When I was younger, my running went through phases, so until my early to mid-20s I didn’t run a lot.
Those were my clubbing years, and when you’re out late – drinking and so on – getting up early to run doesn’t really appeal.
I came back to it as I started to settle down and have kids.
Running is a way of giving myself head space, away from the stresses of everyday life.
That’s the biggest benefit. You think of things you had completely forgotten about. It’s a chance to be creative.
Because I’ve run all my life, running is not difficult.
Because I don’t have to worry about the act of running – the physical process – I can actually think.
I’m not thinking about how tired I am or how much pain I’m in – there are none of those feelings at all – so I am able to be creative.
Equally important is the fact that I’ve got an incredibly sweet tooth – and can’t have a meal without finishing off with a sweet – so running allows me to do that.
If I didn’t run I wouldn’t be the size I am!
Fitness is obviously also important in life generally, especially as you get older: getting those lungs working and keeping all those limbs moving is a good thing to do.
I love running down to Chichester Harbour and along the sandy beaches of the Wittering.
It’s beautiful and from my house I can do a half-marathon route – normally on Saturday and Sunday – without touching a road.
When I take my dog, it’s so isolated that I don’t even have to take a lead with me.
My dog will be swimming in the sea while I’m running along the beach.
It really is a beautiful run. Sometimes I won’t see anyone else at all, which is nice after a hectic week at work.
I also love running in cities I’ve never been to before; it’s my way of discovering a place.
We do a lot of urban design and when you’re running you learn all about a place, in a way that you don’t when you’re in a car or a bus.
I love the geography of running. For me, running is about geography, really.
When I run I like to get away from everything, so I’ve never been a member of a running club.
I’ve never followed any sort of training plan or bought anything that could aid my running.
I’ve never taken any gels and I don’t even have a bottle of water when I run a marathon.
Running is my hobby but I’m not part of the sport, it’s something I do for me.
I love the simplicity of running. You put on a pair of shoes, you put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and you set off.
That is the joy of it.
You do it at your time, when you want to do it. You’re not reliant on anyone else.