The Guardian are copying me, and doing a better job:
Not 100% I agree with the ‘pure joy’ factor. The costal path on a glorious sunny day, maybe! The road in this bloody wind with freezing rain/hail is a pretty joyless experience. Even when finished it’s purely a necessary evil to complete my plan of training outdoors and avoiding the treadmill.
The quest for fitness and being fit to run is definitely there and my arbitrary 4 hours with no real context outside of my own head. But I definitely don’t share the friend of the writer’s approach to missing his sub 3 hour target by 2 minutes. If I go 2 minutes over 4 hours I won’t be pleased and won’t be looking forward to doing it all over again.