The Great North Run 2009 – review

It was a great social event – and a great family occasion.

 Helen Thoday & family

The sun shone warmly and runners could sit down to relax on the grass.

Jasmin Boyes & Sam McVey enjoy the sunshine

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.

Ben Coates with his fans

More runners than ever before brought their families with them while they relaxed after the Run.

There were the very young…

Simon Wilkinson & family

…and families more at school-age.

Janette Milne Janice Russell & Lisa Porter with their families

Others came with their parents.

Helen & Kris Smith with their Dad

There were two mother-and-daughter teams.

Joanne with her mother Ann Diane Thomas with her daughters Lianne & Lauren

There was a team of three sisters.

The Scott sisters - Hayley, Shaunette & Bronia

Larger groups of family and friends included the Worsnip-Beckett-Jones group from Mold and Oswestry…

The Worsnip-Beckett-Jones group

…and the Shaw Family.

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!

Craig Thompson Andrew Thompson

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.

the Cool Runners - James Desmond, Richard Bagnall, Craig Rockliffe and Andy Thompson

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.

Jenni Pratt & Guy Rae Jenni Pratt

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.

Lucy Brain on the road

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.

Keith Hall Sidney Molyneux

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.

Rachel Cropper & her team John Kimbrey, Pauline Scott & Iestyn Thomas

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.

Matthew & Sandra Tearney with Ben White

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.

Holly, Karen and Ashleigh

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.

Sarah and Gemma Stidolph

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.

Anita, Anne & Sheila

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!

Helen Thoday & family

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