The Great North Run 2011

December 19th, 2011Comments Off on The Great North Run 2011

By Liz Cutler

When I turned fifty, I made the decision that I would do ‘A First’ or something ‘Mad’ every year until I was sixty! Well I forgot to stop and fourteen years on my ―Mad thing for this year was to do the Great North Run. I signed up with Breast Cancer Care and promised to raise £300 for them and I also raised money for the Loch Arthur Community.

Liz proudly displays her medal

The day stated at Gosforth Metro Station with other runners waiting for the train. As the doors opened the smell of Winter Green wafted through them. I just about managed to squeeze on to the train as the doors closed behind me. The atmosphere was jovial and positive as people talked together. As we came into Haymarket Station the driver wished every-one well for the day ahead. The train emptied and we all headed for the escalators that took us to the street above. The officials on duty met us with smiling faces (Yes smiling and officials are meant in the same sentence) and sent us in the right direction to find our stating places. Your personal number is colour coded so that you know where to start and where your bus is, that will take your belongings to the finish line for you to collect after the race.

You are never on your own, you speak with people you have never met before and will probably never meet again. Just before the Run starts you are asked to take time out to re-member all the loved ones that people are running in mem-ory of, and Abide With Me is played. A lot of tears are shed as people sing. When tears are dried the warm up starts and happiness is restored to the day. The Red Arrows Fly Past follows the warm up. This year it was the Red Arrows minus one after the death of the pilot a few weeks before. It was the widow of the pilot who started the race at 10:40 after which she joined the runners and completed the race herself.

With fifty six thousand people taking part I didn‘t get to the start line until 11:15 then it was best foot forward for the finish. People from Newcastle and Gateshead come out with tins of sweets and cut up oranges to help you on your way. The route is lined by cheering supporters who keep telling you have not far to go now! Without these people I don‘t think a lot of those struggling would finish but with the con-tinuous encouragement they make it to the finish line.

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