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The phone rang were on our way, it was 3

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					The Great North Run 18th September 2005 – ‘from the heart’ by Angela
Glover

The phone rang "we're on our way", it was 3.30pm Saturday 17th
September, Emma, Linda & Sarah, were on their way to pick me up for our
journey to the North East. Emma's dad had very kindly parked his caravan
in Whitley Bay, so we could stay close to the race the night before.
My stomach was in knots, had we done enough training? would we be able to
manage the distance? would we live up to our promise? 13.1 miles, the worlds
biggest half marathon event .. we must be mad!

When Emma suggested 'The Great North Run' over a year ago, it seemed
like a good idea, a great fundraiser for our playgroup project which we all
felt so passionately about and having just done the 5K 'Race for Life'
around Greenhead Park and progressed to the 10K 'Cancer Research UK'
race at Castle Howard, it seemed like the natural next step and we had
months to get prepared.
As you may have guessed the months passed by and still confident, we
managed the occasional 3 or 4 miles around the park, the school summer
holidays arrived and then ... Sunday 24th July, my 39th birthday and only 8
weeks to go .. oh help!

It was almost exactly 19 years ago and at 19 years of age, that I ran the
Great North Run half marathon, as a student at Sunderland Polytechnic. I
was young and fit and completed the distance in just under 2 hours .... 19
years of 'fine living' and 3 children later, I didn't feel quite as confident! I
searched the GNR website for the training schedule, which started with 16
weeks to go, ignored the first 8 weeks and calmly counted on to '8 weeks to
go'. I made a note of the training requirements in my diary, week by week
to Sunday 18th September - race day. Emma and Linda returned from
holiday & we managed a few runs of about 6 miles, my training schedule had
rather more 'oops' written alongside the miles than ticks.
On Sunday 11th September, with 1 week to go we ran 8.5 miles in 83 mins -
fantastic ... I felt great and if I could do 8.5 miles .. then I could certainly
do 13.1 .. couldn't I?
So much was now resting on this event; hundreds of people knew about
it, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner had printed a photo & report, all the
families at Cowcliffe Playgroup & Fixby School had been sent a sponsor
form, Emma & Linda had taken forms to work & I had emailed virtually
everyone I know .. oh dear! it's no wonder I felt a little nervous.

We arrived at the Tyne Tunnel at around 6pm, after what seemed like a
long journey and as we queued in the traffic, it suddenly dawned on me ...
'that was the length of time we would need to keep running tomorrow, about
2 and a half hours' .. yikes.

We arrived at the caravan, wind howling & rain pouring, with just enough
visibility to see the lighthouse overlooking the North Sea. The pasta supper
went down very well & we all zipped up our sleeping bags for bed at around
10pm. The 6.30am alarm brought with it a bright morning & a fresh new day.
The nerves had gone & I felt remarkably calm. 8.20am we followed the
masses from the metro station to the starting point, it was awesome, there
were thousands lined up on the road already. The atmosphere was electric,
almost 'carnival like', with crowds of people laughing, smiling, shaking hands,
patting each other on the back, wishing each other 'good luck'. We made
our way to the '9min per mile' section, feeling a little optimistic, hopped
over the barrier & waited in anticipation for the race to start. After a few
verses of 'Amarillo' & 'Hey Baby' it was almost time .. the race started
10.40am and 15 mins later we started to move .. here goes.
The sun started to beat down & at about 2 miles we crossed the Tyne
Bridge - the crowds cheered & the bands played, I couldn't stop smiling. By
4 miles it was getting really hot and I knew I still had 9 miles to go. Loads
of people had stopped to walk by now & as we made our way up the first hill,
I decided to save my energy & walk a bit, plus with all the fluid intake, I
really needed to stop at 'the ladies' (not quite that grand - a portaloo at
the side of the road).
At about 4.5 miles I saw Linda in the 'loo queue' which was about 30 people
long, we decided we could wait until 6 miles & ran on together.
At 6 miles we stopped & had to queue for 10 mins, Emma joined the queue
too & we were all back together again. It was like a new lease of life, we
were off, weaving in & out of the walkers & joggers for the next 3 miles.
The 2 miles from 9 to 11 seemed to go on for ever, as more & more people
lined the streets to shout "come on you’re nearly there", "well done" "keep
going", the local children were handing out 'ice-pops' and taking great
delight in showering the runners with water.

As we came over the hill to the coast road, the TV cameras &
photographers were inspiration to keep going for the last mile along the
coast ... the longest mile ever. The Red Arrows were busy with their display
& we found the last bit of energy to keep going.
As we crossed the finish line, Linda & I held hands, raised up in the air in
triumph, the emotion was overwhelming and for a moment I could hardly
breathe.

A few moments later Emma crossed the line & we were all re-united once
more .. a few tears flowed, as we hugged each other in support, relief and
elation ... what an achievement!

Our Great North Run challenge has raised in excess of £1,400 for
Cowcliffe Playgroup's Project and there is still money coming in.
A huge 'Thank you' to everyone in our community who has supported us,
together we really can make a difference.

Angela Glover

				
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