It started off as nothing more than a joke, a dare, a taunt (no, I’m not talking about wearing pantyhose into Billy Bob’s). A group of my so-called friends suggested that, at my advanced age and even more advanced weight, I might find it difficult to complete the White Rock Marathon – by the turn of the century.

Well, as far as I was concerned, they had thrown down the gauntlet. And despite the fact that I was unable to bend over to pick it up, it still made me just a little irritated. And, of course, when I get irritated, there’s nothing better than a six-pack of Dr Pepper and a couple thousand M&Ms.

So I started a grueling training regimen that included watching videotaped highlights of some of the most exciting moments in marathon history. One thing I noticed immediately was that people who run marathons don’t look a whole lot like me, In fact, I’m never sure if I’m watching a marathon or a bunch of Gandhi impersonators.

The big day finally came. It was perfect marathon weather – although “perfect” for me would be whatever is necessary to cancel the marathon and just proclaim everyone a “winner”.

I prepared myself carefully and followed what has become a universal ritual of thousands of marathon runners around the world. I respectfully put on my Nike running kilt, along with my Dad’s maternal Douglas tartan, combined with an aerodynamic corduroy sweatshirt. Like most veteran runners, I Saran-wrapped my arms and legs and head – making sure that I included a couple of holes for breathing.

But my secret weapons were my shoes. Sure, Dalmatian house slippers might not be the obvious marathon footwear, but I figured it might distract my competitors.

I was shoulder-to-shoulder with other Saran-wrapped Olympians, looking like so many microwaveable morons. Just as I had planned, many impressive-looking athletes couldn’t take their eyes off my “dogs.” In just a few more moments, they would be seeing my Dalmatian tracks.

The air was chilly, and the tension grew while we awaited the starting gun. Then, I realized I might not eat another meal for possibly three or four hours – because it would take me that long to get to the halfway point, where my wife would have a stack of pancakes and maple syrup waiting for me (the breakfast of champions).

After that, I would be able to finish my first (and only) marathon and show my doubting friends I’m not quite over the hill yet.

Suddenly, I felt the sensation of getting wet. Was it raining? Had I fallen in the lake? Was the guy next to me squirting me with his water bottle? Were my Dalmatian slippers standing near a fire hydrant?

No, it was my two-year-old pouring a cup of water on my head. But it was OK. I was still in bed, and it was all just a bad dream. And frankly, I was glad to get out of the Saran wrap. I think it was starting to scare the children.