I would like to offer my sincere thanks to you all for your tremendous
support and sponsorship for my efforts to support Hearing Dogs For Deaf
People by taking part in the BUPA Great North Run. So far you have helped
me to raise £315 for the charity and the least I can do by way of
appreciation is give you a little resume of the day.
As you now know I completed the run in 2 Ĺ hours and at least I managed
to get to the finish line. I ran the first 8 miles but when I saw the next
hill coming up my body was telling me enough is enough and from then on I
walked up the hills and jogged down the other side! Apart from the aching
legs, I felt fine until I actually reached the finishing line when, within
10 minutes or so, I have to admit I felt quite faint with an urgent need
to visit the nearest 'Portaloo', but you donít need to know about that
Apart from that it was a day to remember. Just before the race started and
again half way through, we were witness to an amazing fly-over by the red
arrows, followed by individual displays at regular intervals as they
created various patterns in the sky. Crossing the start line, if you were
tall enough and near enough, there was an opportunity to shake hands with
Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds and a few of the other Olympic gold medal
winners. The support of the people of the North East was amazing and
despite the early morning rain, they lined the complete route cheering,
clapping and encouraging all of the runners, not to mention supplying us
with oranges, sweets, cheese, biscuits and ice lollies particularly when
we were within a few miles of the finishing line and desperately needed
that extra boost. I donít thing Iíve ever heard so many renditions of
Ogi, Ogi, Ogi, Oi, Oi, Oi, although I have to admit that by the end of the
run I hadnít the energy to respond with the Oi, Oi, Oi bit!
People were running in support of so many different charities but reading
the messages on the back of their running vests, it became obvious that
most of them had a very personal and emotional story to tell. What I also
found most humbling was witnessing a couple of soldiers taking part, each
carrying a heavy back pack and, unlike the rest of us, they didnít have
the luxury of trainers and a running vest, they were actually running in
their boots and full uniform. That is an image that will stay with me for
some time to come and brought home to me the reality of the extremely
difficult conditions they have to cope with on a daily basis. The other
memory I have is of ĎGladysí an 81 year old woman who was running her
third half marathon and proudly announced that she power-walked 5 miles
every morning before breakfast!
At the end of the run we were each presented with a race pack containing a
medal, T-shirt, space blanket, 'Powerade' drink and various Ďgoodiesí.
There was lots of entertainment on offer and an opportunity to visit the
charity village where we were welcomed by representatives of the charity
we were supporting.
The whole event was extremely well organised and there was an army of
volunteers helping throughout the day. Clearing up the thousands of empty
water bottles discarded along the route must have been a mammoth task and
I understand the volunteers were working well into the evening after
everybody else had left.
One of the main challenges was getting out of the car park (and in my
case, finding my car!) at the end of the day, although I have to say that
the exit routes were very well planned and we were all directed along the
coast road and away from the town centre. The main delay was caused by the
sheer volume of cars leaving the venue at the same time. However, once I
reached the A19/A1, the heavens opened and I drove through torrential rain
for the rest of the journey and had developed a horrible headache by the
time I reached home. However, a couple of headache tablets, fish and chips
and umpteen cups of coffee soon sorted that out.
Would I do it again? Well I'll leave you guessing, but definitely not
unless I can hire my own private 'Portaloo'