I had a bad's night sleep before getting up at 7 to drive to Bristol to run a mile for Sport Relief. It seemed a long way to go to run a mile, but they had asked me to return after the success of two years ago
Emma Kennedy had not been deemed a big enough celeb this time and nor had Jeremy Edwards or Elize du Toit. Only my celebrity star has stayed in the ascendant for the last 24 months. That's show business. Bad luck loser celebs. Only I am good enough.
Kennedy will claim that she had landed the cushier, more prestigious Brighton run
. But I think the calibre of the Bristol celebs speaks for itself. There was the Olympic athelete, Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards and the other Olympian Duncan Goodhew and a load of other sportsmen that I didn't really recognise. There were no female celebrities at all, the organisers having perhaps learned the lesson after the Elize du Toit incident. I did not envy Kennedy who I knew would be hob-nobbing with Chantelle and Jade Goody and Josie Jump (I would have envied her if it had been the original Josie Jump who I am properly in love with, but the replacement who I could never give my heart to. Though I might lend her my genitalia if she wanted to use it for a couple of minutes.
Anyway there was no point in speculating which incarnation of Josie Jump was the better wife material. Eddie the Eagle was my best chance of a celebrity love match and as he was accompanied by his wife and eaglets it seemed unlikely I would seduce him.
I was very tired after my drive and lack of sleep and was not really looking forward to run a mile, but I couldn't let the people of Bristol down. Thousands of them had turned up, no doubt lured by my massive celebrity and I knew that by running a mile I could bring some light to their humdrum lives. I am a kind of hero in the area. More like a God really. I would have to buckle down and run.
As it turned out, aside from a slight incline at the start of the run, I found the mile reasonably easy despite my lack of training. I didn't have an accurate time on it, but it was between 7 and 8 minutes, which isn't too shoddy at all.
The sportsmen (who had all finished ahead of me) congratulated me, clearly slightly surprised that I had finished in under ten minutes. I then had a brief break before I had to go to the main stage to be interviewed and do a ten minute stand up spot. I struggled to think of ten minutes I could do to a family audience. Probably the Maxine Carr material would be a mistake. I could do my one kids' joke (which is still a little blue) "What's brown and taps at the window?"
"A poo on stilts."
The time came to walk to the stage. I braced myself for the hassling crowds and the gasps of awe. Bless them, the people of Bristol treated me just like a regular person and pretended to ignore me.
And they took this respect for my privacy to quite some lengths. I arrived at the stage to find that there was hardly any audience watching the entertainment at all. There were some rappers on, but no-one was really watching aside from a couple of girls dancing in front of the stage and then maybe forty or so people sitting some distance away eating their packed lunches.
My interview was carried out to four 12 year old girls and a confused looking 7 year old boy (who didn't get my poo on stilts joke or my other attempt "What has 8 eyes, 8 legs and 8 arms? - 8 pirates.")
I decided not to do the stand up set - given there wasn't anyone really listening. I wondered if it was worth Sport Relief's time to have me along as a celebrity. I had consumed more in danish pastries and crisps than I had raised for the event. Plus I stole a Sharpie pen(There was less free stuff this time though, but they still didn't give me the pound that my contract promised). It was fun to be part of the festivities and nice to be back in the West Country (and I went to see my mum and dad afterwards, though slept most of the afternoon), but I suspect that next time I could just hire someone local to where a name badge that says "Richard Herring" and I can't imagine anyone would notice the difference.
Hope you enjoyed your run if you did it. Hope you were somewhere where they had proper celebrities, like the woman from Suburban Shootout.