Great North Run: 1.48

Great North Run 2013
Raising money for Macmillan

We woke to a cold and wet morning and joined the other 56,000 runners taking part in the Great North Run on the walk to the start line.  Thankfully it was a leisurely Northern start time of 1030.  So far, so good.  We even managed to find a coffee shop and a church with clean toilets to use their facilities rather than queue for the port a loos!

The chaos began with the baggage vans - just a row of buses and you put you own bag on the bus rather than have an official load it on a baggage van.  That done, we headed to the start line and saw Mo Farrah warming up!  I then tried to get access to my start area but it was too crowded and they couldn't get everyone in.  A whole group of us were lined up outside, queueing patiently as all good Brits do when they announced that they were closing the gates and anyone not in the starting area would have to go to the very back of the race and start with all the walkers and fancy dressed people.  

Thankfully, we managed to find an area that wasn't closed off so I was able to start in the "orange" section as planned.  Panic finally over, off we set and I even managed to see my cheering groupie, Rachel as I ran past.  Within the first 5 mins or so we ran across the Tyne Bridge and then it was pretty much dual carriageway roads all the way to South Shields.  

Despite the weather, there were lots of people out cheering on route - lots of kids loving the runners in fancy dress.  People handing out oranges, jelly beans and drinks, bands, charity cheering squads and the fly by from the Red Arrows. Thankfully time passed quickly and before I knew it, I could see the sea and it was a short kilometer along the waterfront to the finish line. 

From the finish line it was another queue to get back on the bus to reclaim my bag, then a trek back to the finish area to find Rachel at the Macmillan tent in the Charity Village.  Rachel, in a green jacket, was keeping busy answering questions as people thought she was a Macmillan volunteer!  With a warm cup of coffee inside us, I was keen to brag about my accomplishments to Matt however was slightly distracted by a fantastic display by the Red Arrows!



On route to the world famous Colman's fish n chip restaurant, I tried calling Matt - at home and on the mobile - but couldn't get through.  Quite often it takes a few calls for Matt to answer the phone but after 30 mins of trying to get hold of him I was panicking and ready to rally troops.  Not knowing what else to do, I called Sheila and Jim and got them on the case too.  Thankfully, an hour later, Matt called to say he'd been out with Syra and his mobile was on silent.  Panic over.  

Our perfectly timed lunch coincided with the heavens opening and a down pour which, miraculously, had cleared by the time we started our trek back to the South Shields metro station.  A little further down the road and we saw the queues in the street for the metro so, catching sight of a bus for Newcastle, we thought ourselves pretty clever by opting to take that back - none of this standing, waiting in queues for us!  We squeezed on to find it was standing room only and then the bus proceeded to crawl back down towards the water front, the way we had just walked, turn around at the bottom of the road and then creep its way back to where we started.  45 mins after setting off we were back in exactly the same place!  Thankfully quite a few people got fed up with going no where and bailed, meaning we finally got a seat.  Once the bus was in the right direction, it was foot to the floor as we sped on back to Newcastle.  

I had notions that we'd be back in the hotel by mid afternoon - have a bit of a siesta and then head out to celebrate.  Instead, we made it back to Newcastle with its bitter wind around 5 pm, quickly revised our plans and popped in to Tesco express for some wine, cheese and crackers with thoughts of a cosy night in!


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