For the first time in my life I got involved in the Great North Run. Bit late maybe. Not running it of course – not being a runner – but supporting via an organised cheering bus with the MSSociety. I was torn between going to the Charity Village at the race end point or being a ‘cheerer’; which I opted for.
I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the cheering gang. It was an immense place to be! To be there before 9am seeing some of the route when on way to where the bus was parked was nearing feeling quite ‘eerily’. Very very few people about – the occasional jogger (I know!) or dog walker – no sunshine at that time and also very quiet; in a strange (to me) place.
Upon seeing the familiar orange and reaching the bus we (me and Kelbel) were met by others clad in MS Orange, our (sub-)theme for the day. What I mean by that is yeah, we were all supporting the whole of the GreatNorth Run and ALL of it’s fantastic participants, with a little more bias for those (450 registered) taking the challenge head-on supporting in some form or another Multiple Sclerosis!
When the first person passed us in his race-wheelchair, it had begun! The elites were next, women first followed by the men showing how to do it! The whooping, whistling, cheering, clapping was then evident! The atmosphere had accelerated! Before we knew it, the rest of the run soon followed and to see it for the first time was breathtakingly amazing! Not just to see, but feel why the GNR is famous was fantastic. Nothing to compare it to. Unique. Everyone everywhere was in a positive jubilant mood which was infectious, and that was early-doors!
As the run progressed passing in their thousands – a sight to see for any kind of marathon virgin – I and not just me, were well into the vibe! Seeing a runner’s name and/or chosen charity and vocally boosting them on was great fun, seeing their responses was even better! Not just the MS runners, even though they got that extra whoop!
After the many many had passed the bus, my plan was to then head to the Charity Village to offer more support, at the MS stand via the Metro.
We had a real-life game of Frogger crossing over the road which had quietened down yet still had patrons running, we made it across and to the nearest Metro Station. Then more challenge/s began! Every carriage of the first 3 Metros were full. Not just busy, but full full with chance no getting in/on. Just as did not want. The 4th had room to get in/on. Just. Off we went! Ahem.
The Metro stopped short of Hebburn with an issue and apologies. It got hotter and hotter – no fresh air inside doors that can’t (obviously) be opened – for more than forty minutes. I did not like. Shame given how the bus had been! Eventually we got to Hebburn with 6 more stops before South Shields, I bailed. Had had enough. It was time to retreat and that I did!
I went straight to my parents’ home, knowing that Sharon, my sister who had done the run was heading there too! When she arrived all safe and sound, it was great to see her and to absorb her amazing stories of her first Great North Run experience! Brilliant account from her and what a smile, sore no doubt but happy to have achieved successfully such a magnificent event!
I am happy to have been part of the GNR 2015 and look forward to next year, maybe at the Village, maybe not! To have experienced the world’s biggest, most famous half marathon was an honour that I can only recommend to others!