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Dr Martin Roberts - THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

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Dr Martin Roberts - THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

Post  Wintabells on Sat 20 Apr - 21:58

EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com

By Dr Martin Roberts
17 April 2013
THE LONELINESS OF THE LONG DISTANCE RUNNER

It's no fun being a 'Billy no mates,' especially on holiday. Much better to be sociable and go jogging in company, if that's your thing. It wasn't really Matthew Oldfield's thing though:

"I don't like it, but I quite like it on holiday when it's a bit warmer and it's not so bad on your joints and I quite like running on the beach, because it feels quite sort of Bay Watch and it's kind of Californian." He said, to the interviewing police officer.

Unfortunately for Matthew he drew the short straw. Instead of having Pamela Anderson for company that Wednesday, 2 May, he got Kate McCann:

"Today it rained. The children went to their clubs, but our tennis lessons were postponed. Instead we joined Fiona, David and Dianne at the Millennium restaurant for coffee. We then returned to our apartment and a little while later I left again, to go for a run with Matt." (Kate McCann, in 'Madeleine')

Whose idea was it anyway? Matthew's, the reluctant athlete, who doesn't even like running, much less on the roads and in the rain, or the enthusiastic Kate McCann's? Matthew could not so much as remember who took the initiative:

"...I think Kate might have run most days, because she was quite a keen runner, and it may just be that either I thought I'd go for a run and she was already changed, or I was changed and, or Gerry might have said that, erm, I'm speculating, it may just have been coincidence that we both got into running gear and then decided to run together."

Somehow a 'your guess is as good as mine' answer during a police interview doesn't seem terribly convincing, and even though it appears perfectly reasonable to suppose Kate took the lead on this occasion, there must have been more than an element of chance in their running together. They didn't just bump into each other outside at the Ocean club, both coincidentally changed into running gear. If, as Kate tells us, she returned to her apartment and a little while later left again, to go for a run with Matt, the expedition must have been pre-arranged.

So there is Matthew Oldfield in his running strip, prepared to do something he's not desperately keen on, unless it's on the beach and in the sunshine, about to pound the roads that lunchtime:

"I remember I went running with Kate at lunchtime, she's quite a good runner, and we went out on the road all the way up to the main junc... erm, the sort of main road where you access Praia da Luz from and then back."

It wasn't a comfortable experience for our Matthew (4078 "But you went on this route and are saying you found it quite hard to keep up?") but Kate must have revelled in it, having already softened the glare from her new girly pink trainers with several outings in the PDL sand.

Raised paving stones and pot-holes are like snipers lying in wait for a victim when you're training out on the road. Kate was hit by an anti-personnel device in the form of a dog, apparently.

"As we ran along the promenade, a small dog jumped out from under a bench and attacked my right calf. It was pretty sore and I was a bit shaken, but I carried on as coolly as I could manage."

Funny how Matthew did not recollect this incident during his rogatory interview, Kate having been 'a bit shaken' by it after all. Might that be because he and Kate went running in different directions, and at different times of the day, Kate along the promenade in the morning, before lunch, Matthew away from PDL and back at lunchtime, three to four miles each way? Matthew could of course have kicked off with the beach leg of the route, but then he'd surely have remembered their joint encounter with the dog, even if only by being grateful that it was Kate's leg that was sore after the 'attack' and not his own!

Hospital patients of Matthew Oldfield should breathe a sigh of relief that medical histories/charts are available at the foot of their beds. Trusting in Dr Oldfield's memory could prove disastrous otherwise. He appears not to have one:

4078 "Okay. Right. So, I mean, having said that you had struggled to remember what you did each day, you have done pretty well really so far, you have remembered, for example, that Rachael was unwell all day on the Wednesday, so therefore you had gone for a run with Kate. I am guessing, would that have been when Grace was asleep or?"

Reply "I think that was lunchtime."

4078 "Yeah. Do you remember what you did after your run with Kate?"

Reply "No, because I'd have been on, I'd have been on Grace duty I think that afternoon... (waffle, waffle).

Well we know doctors are accustomed to schedules, but Matthew Oldfield's readiness to keep pace with Kate McCann in this instance is seriously impressive. Three to four miles each way, squeezed into a lunchtime outing on account of a sick wife and a child needing care and supervision back home. ("Grace had loose nappies nearly every day, but until after Madeleine went, erm, disappeared, she was never sick." Is that 'went on her abduction,' Matthew?).

A total of some seven miles, say, plus the time it will have taken for Oldfield to change into, and afterwards out of, his athletic strip. Roger Bannister was himself a medic but I don't think that can be taken to imply that non-runner Dr Matthew Oldfield could get remotely close to the four minute mile, then or now.

And that dog he remembered nothing about. The one that attacked poor Kate from beneath a public bench. Did it leave a mark of any kind? It's hard to see quite why Kate should have been shaken by the experience, and sore, otherwise. It was only a small dog after all. A small creature with teeth and claws that, from a prone position, launched an assault on Kate's anatomy, just a foot or so from the floor. Perhaps, seeing the flailing legs, the dog took it to be an act of self-defence.

Wintabells
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