The Great North Run 2009 – review
It was a great social event – and a great family occasion.
The sun shone warmly and runners could sit down to relax on the grass.
As usual, the throng spread out well beyond the official boundaries of our Welcome tent, giving more space for our runners to get together with their families and their fan clubs.
More runners than ever before brought their families with them while they relaxed after the Run.
There were the very young…
…and families more at school-age.
Others came with their parents.
There were two mother-and-daughter teams.
There was a team of three sisters.
Larger groups of family and friends included the Worsnip-Beckett-Jones group from Mold and Oswestry…
…and the Shaw Family.
The Thompson brothers, Craig & Andrew, ran together again. Both were in heavy-weight fancy dress – not ideal for a hot day. We’re not sure what the fancy dress actually represented but Craig in particular must have boiled in his pressure cooker of a suit. Awesome dedication to the cause!
Others who ran under self-imposed difficulties were the Cool Runners – James Desmond, Richard Bagnall, Craig Rockliffe and Andy Thompson (no relation to Andrew Thompson mentioned above). They did the Run in their homemade bobsled called Jamaica – inspired by the 1993 film ‘Cool Runnings’ about a Jamaican bobsleigh team entering the Winter Olympics.
There was no-one in caveman costume this year but Jenni Pratt did her best to act the part, with Guy Rae as her fall-guy.
For many of our runners there is the challenge of setting a personal ‘best’ or competing against friends or athletics club colleagues. This year, Lucy Brain was our fastest runner with a time of 1 hour 30 minutes 12 seconds, ahead of our fastest man, Paul Nutter, by 58 seconds. As far as we can remember, this is the first time a female has been our fastest runner.
Two of our runners were both doing the Run for the 18th time. Both clocked fast times. Keith Hall (1 hr 55min) has a place guaranteed for the next two years, by which time he will will 70. Sidney Molyneux (2 hrs 6 min) completed despite suffering from a torn calf muscle.
But for many of our runners, just completing the course is a triumph in itself, not least if a member of the team is in a wheelchair.
Most of our runners have a very personal reason for supporting the fight against MND and some want to tell the world what it is. There was a variety of messages written on backs or banners or elsewhere.
There to help things along were MND staff and volunteers – meeeting & greeting, pouring countless cups of tea and coffee, serving soft drinks and replenishing food trays. Holly, Karen and Ashleigh were three of them.
Gemma and Sarah Stidolph had planned to be runners. But instead of training they needed to care for their father who had MND, so they came to help instead.
The last runners arrived and the accumulated throng gradually dispersed, maybe to continue celebrating elsewhere, maybe to nurse blisters and aching muscles or perhaps just to start a long journey home.
Eventually there was no-one left except the staff and volunters who could themselves celebrate the completion of another successful and enjoyable event.
It was a great day. We thank everyone who contributed – most of all those wonderful supporters who trained for months, raised sponsorships from family, friends, work colleagues and others and then ran all the way from Newcastle to South Shields to help fight MND.
Thank you all!