Last weekend, Sue and I drove up to Newcastle so that I could take part in the Great North Run, which is billed as the biggest half-marathon in the world. I did fairly well in a sort of tubby, middle-aged way. My time was two hours, twenty six minutes (and fifty one seconds) and I finished in position 26,862 which doesn’t sound too good, but there were almost thirty thousand people behind me! If you really want to, you can see how my time compares with the winner of the race and even catch the odd video of my jogging through the rain, here.
As well as being a long jog through a familiar part of the world, the whole process was rather interesting. You couldn’t help but admire the way in which the organisers had thought of just about everything. It is no mean feat to get over fifty thousand people running together along the same route. When the gun went off, we were marshalled in groups towards the start, I actually got started twenty eight minutes after the first runners (by which time the eventual winner was half way home!).
There were drinks stations at various intervals and every few miles there was a band playing live. A few people running along the route had rigged up garden hoses to spray the runners as they went past to keep them cool. In the event, this service wasn’t really needed after a couple of really heavy showers. However, Geordies aren’t the sort of people who will let a little rain get in the way of spraying water over a bunch of runners!
All in all, it was a lot of fun and I’m glad that to have taken part in such a famous run. However, I don’t suppose I’ll do so again. The great thing about the race was running with such a large group of people, but the sheer numbers were also a big disadvantage. It was impossible to run at a steady speed; there were people in front going slower than me and people behind trying to hurry me on. I reckon that I added a fair bit of distance just dodging from one side of the road to the other to try and get past folks. It was good to be back running on my own in the Chilterns, this morning.
Anyway, it seems that half-marathons are a bit like busses. For almost fifty three years, I never did one and now three come along in as many months. Only two weeks to go to the Henley half!