Roll up, roll up, for one man’s journey from Dib Dab to Dibaba. Over the next three months, in an occasional series, I will chronicle my friend Junior’s attempt to transform himself from a man sometimes seen munching through a six-pack of McCoys to the owner of an abdominal six-pack as he trains for the London Marathon.
You have to go back to the summer of 2013 to find the origins of this story. The hashtag #dibabalife was trending within Run Dem Crew. I first saw it being used by Jeggi Elinzano, co-coach alongside Cory Wharton-Malcolm at the Thursday evening track sessions at Paddington Rec. As we pushed each other to complete ever faster loops around that 400m “O”, Jeggi would shout “Diamond League” in reference to the elite athletics meets on British TV that summer. The hashtag #dibabalife would fly about on social media for a few hours afterwards, as we celebrated our hard work and the dream that one day we would be able to run with a fraction of the grace, speed and guts of any of the Ethiopian Dibaba sisters. Towards the end of that summer, Junior asked me, “Chris, what’s all this about ‘Dib Dab Life’ on twitter?” What could I say? There’s something endearingly Junior-esque about mistaking a reference to elite endurance athletes for Sherbet Dip Dabs.
Last weekend, that all came back to me as Jason and I helped Junior through a 10 mile training run along the River Lea. We’d crushed a marathon-pace nine-miler together the previous weekend, but this time he found the going tough, even walking a couple of times. At the correct, slower long-run pace, I’m confident Junior can eliminate this, so if he hits the wall in the marathon, he will cope. I’m calling our intrepid trio the Irish Breakfast Club due to my heritage and the high quality black pudding served at Aran’s Cafe in Stamford Hill, our regular post-run nutrition-stop. To be fair, Junior doesn’t eat the stuff, but it’s as good a name as any. While we ate, we talked Junior through a training plan that will get him ready for the London Marathon in 3 months time. Junior has a challenging time goal in mind, so I explained what pace he should run his different training runs at, and now it’s up to him. Consistency is key. Success is in Junior’s hands. He has the backing of the Run Dem family and of Irish Breakfast Club. The challenge is for him to commit to the rest of the training plan, getting the runs in at the required pace on the days when the sofa calls and he doesn’t have Jason and me to pull him along. Knowing how determined Junior can be, I’m backing him for success.
This weekend Junior, Jason and Paul Bains are hitting the hills of Gravesend as our hero takes on 12 miles. Wish him luck. Junior is raising money for Sense, the charity for deafblind people. You can sponsor him here.