I’m A Runner: Michael Palin

I had to look tan and fit to play the ex-leper in Life of Brian, so I ran up and down the beaches in Tunisia where we were shooting. I got back to London and I thought, I must try and make running a regular thing, and I have ever since.

I’ve been running for 32 years. The idea of stopping at any point is just inconceivable.

The idea for my movie “The Missionary” [1982] came to me while running, and it was completely different from what I’d set out with. I finished and let the concept unscramble from my mind.

There was a time when I used to run wherever I was in the world, but I’ve gotten a little bit lazier now, and I tend to go for the hotel treadmill.

That said, I once ran around an entire island [Bird Island in the Seychelles Archipelago] before breakfast, though it was just a few kilometres.

I only do two runs a week – around eight to 10 kilometres. I go after a morning’s writing work and before I eat anything.

I come back from my runs with more energy. I’ve gone out with hangovers and when I’ve had a cold coming on. Always, I finish feeling better.

I don’t know if being a runner makes you funnier. My wife certainly laughs when she sees me running!

I don’t track my runs at all. I know if I’ve had a good one or not. If it’s a beautiful sunny day, I run a little bit longer.

My most important piece of running gear? Probably my front-door keys.

The last five minutes of my usual run, I go up Parliament Hill and get a great view across London. That’s always a great bit, just to see the city spread out before me.

I wouldn’t mind dying while I was running. I think it would be quite a good way to go – if it was sudden.

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