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The Bleep Test

Saturday, 23 February 2008

I rather foolishly promised my super-fit brother Matt that I’d run a half marathon with him in late 2008.

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At Christmas time I rather foolishly promised my super-fit brother Matt that I’d run a half marathon with him in late 2008. This is going to be a challenge, as at the moment I can barely run up the road to the pub. Matt and his lovely partner Elaine came to visit me today, and they brought something called the Bleep Test to see just how unfit I really am.

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This is how it works. You mark out a distance of twenty metres with a pair of orange Crocs. That’s me in the background of this picture with Croc number two. From a nearby car you then play a CD that bleeps every now and again. Have a listen to a snippet of the CD below.

All you have to do is get from one Croc to the other in time for the “bleep”. Then back to the first Croc as the next “bleep” comes along. After doing this for about a minute, the bleeps get a little closer together. Each time this happens you’ve gone up a level.

It’s very easy to start with, but it quite soon becomes horrible. Horrible horrible horrible.

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Click “play” to hear a bit of the Bleep Test. You’ll be treated to a bored-sounding Australian man, then a BBC announcer who lisps when he says “six”.

I’ve edited the clip so you can hear the test go from level 1 to the start of level 2, then it skips to the point at which I gave up.

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Here I am looking quite comfortable, and highly amused. The test has only just started, and I think the Australian man and BBC announcer are very funny. Say “six” again, BBC man!

It all seems very easy at this stage; in fact the greatest challenge is to try not to laugh too much.

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Up a couple of levels, and I’m still smiling, but it’s getting faster!

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You’ll notice that in all of these pictures Matt looks like a proper runner, whereas I look as if I’m just about to fall over.

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Nearing the end of the line (for me, at any rate). The bleeps are now much too close together for comfort, and I’ve stopped smiling. It’s no longer the slightest bit funny when the BBC man says “six”. Matt still looks quite happy, the little toe-rag.


I had to stop at the beginning of level 8. This isn’t too bad! Apparently to be accepted into the Army you have to get half way through level 7. I hear that there’s a lot of getting up early and being shouted at in the Army, though, so I won’t be joining up just yet.

Although I’m smiling in this picture, I was actually feeling quite sick. Even thinking about it as I’m typing these words makes me a little queasy. Yuck.

Matt went on to do another level or so, and then stopped, though it was clear he didn’t really need to. Toe-rag! (again)

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Two Bleep Test subjects, one looking OK, the other trying his hardest to look OK, but failing.

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I nearly didn’t make it back into the house.
Thanks to Elaine for taking all these pictures, and not laughing too much as she was doing it!

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