Loads of us seem to have done events this weekend, RFLs and 10ks, C25k was out in force. Especially so at the Bupa Great North 10k in Gateshead today where myself and Lovefood1984 were there doing the 'team' proud, we had hoped to bump into each other but with 5,000 runners what were the chances of that? Quite high actually as bump into each other we did, and it made the day that little bit more special.
Once we had left baggage, rejigged my run number and chip (I had foolishly managed to somehow enter the wrong wave, thanks for the help with that Lovefood ) and most dubiously of all negotiated the less than pleasant portaloos it was time for the off.
As I approached my wave they were already warming up so I ducked in and made my way to what I thought was the back, except no, after the warm up they then all turned around and I was actually very near the front! Yes, I am indeed a prize idiot. The people around me looked alarmingly fit, but too late now, it was time for the off. The elites went first, the Ugandan Stephen Kiprotich being the biggest name, but also some pretty impressive local runners including Alyson Dixon who had run from her home in Sunderland as a warm up (about twelve miles!)
As Lovefood blogged earlier, the run starts with a hill which sets the tone, despite this I still did my first km rather fast at 5.32, pacing has never been my strong point and I nearly always start off too fast but even by my standards this was quick. Lots of fast runners around me were having the effect of towing me along, try as I might I could not slow down - 2nd km came in at 5.02 which I don't think I've ever done before, but that was my peak as the next few were slower, just as well as there were more hills ahead.
As we ran alongside the Tyne I heard a roar of applause ahead and thought "how kind" but it wasn't for us, the elites were running back alongside, which was really great to watch - technically I can say I've run past Kiprotich. Having never run a big multi charity run before it was interesting and really cheering to read the various causes on runners shirts, the atmosphere was very positive, each of us running our own challenge, our own motivations, own stories. Before I get too sentimental as a counter balance the smell of sweat in the air was overwhelming, but that's part of humanity too.
A nasty little 7k hill was made more bearable by a good natured marshal who encouraged us on, and the distraction of a sweet little one who held a stick out for his daddy, the wonderful Cancer Research volunteers who cheered us all on regardless of who we were running for, and the countless children who held their hands out for hi-fives. At about 9km came the coup de grace, I could see in the distance a rising of the runners heads, could this be 'the hill'? The one they call 'heart attack hill'. As I scrambled gracelessly to the top my ears were filled with the sound of M Peoples 'moving on up' (ironically?) blasting from a parked van, which did raise a smile. The man in charge of the van however was not smiling, he looked decidedly depressed in fact, perhaps he had been listening to this song on a loop for the last half hour, if so hope he's feeling okay now.
The finish was on the track inside the stadium, 'Chariots of Fire' piped at us as we ran in, accompanied by a commentary on Mo Farah. One trip of the imagination later and a (sort of) sprint to the finish, athletes for a day even if just in our heads. It was hard, it was fun, I loved it all... well maybe not the hills...
Thanks for reading, go team c25k!
Edited to add - time was 55:12 very happy with that.