‘There are so many things in life that divide us, that separate us and tear us apart, be it race, religion, creed, socioeconomic level, nationality or any variety of other factors. But running is something that we all share in common’ – Dean Karnazes
Twas the 9th of June and time for the annual Blaydon Race, a Geordie tradition that’s happened every year since 1862. A 5.9 (or in this years case 5.7) mile foot race from Newcastle City Centre to Blaydon, the words of the song forming pretty much all you need to know about it.
I only started running about 18 months ago and after successfully hauling my thunderous thighs around the course last year, I wanted to do it again and try and beat my time. This year though, I had an entourage in the form of best mate Steph and Hubby Dave (both 1st timers) and Chris (aka the ‘Whippet’) and Gordon from work. Together we formed very masculine and aggressive Team Pink – for no other reason that we wanted to wear bright colours so we could all find each other at end, and i’m a chick, so i insisted on pink.
Thankfully, as was last year, the weather was glorious and we all met in the Bigg Market for some pep talks, hydration, last minute wee’s and to soak up the atmosphere. I was so excited to be doing it again, even more so since there had been a problem with the online application process this year and was unsure as to whether we would all get spaces. The problems didn’t end there though as there was some further delay again at the starting line due to an ambulance attending to a non runner along the route. Dave and Chris moved up nearer the front, being the more professional among us five (Chris is a Heaton Harrier and Dave runs 70 miles just for fun) but Steph, Gordon and I held back and quite literally brought up the rear.
We heard the bell and meandered towards the starting line. Steph Gordon and myself stayed together for a little while but slowly separated out once we got up on to Scotswood road so I can only really speak for myself from this point on. Sadly those of us nearer the back of the field were the ones to witness Alan Chaplin suffer a heart attack about 2 miles in. Gordon, who was in front of Alan actually saw him go down and ran on to alert the paramedics. I saw him being tended to and Steph saw him receiving CPR (something which she was quite shaken up about when she’d finished). Thankfully, Alan has made a full recovery thanks to the nurses who were running and stopped to resuscitate him.
The rest of the run went on quite uneventfully. It was hot and i wished i’d brought water with me. When I eventually reached the water station i was so parched i’d momentarily lost the ability to drink so just threw the cup over my face like i was some Olympic athlete. What a fool.
I saw the 5 mile marker and i knew i was almost done. From last year i’d remembered the finish line was just round a corner, problem was this year, i’d forgotten which corner, so i pretty much sprinted for the last half mile, needless to say i was pretty gassed out by the time i finished. But i did finish and i managed to beat my time from last year, which was all i wanted to do.
Despite the quite frankly fool proof system of the pink sweatbands, we lost Chris and Gordon in the melee of finishers (i imagine by the time i finished Chris was home, showered and tucking into a take away curry) but Dave, Steph and I went to the pub and raised a glass on behalf on Team Pink, a team which i was honoured to be proud of.
Here’s a little video of the day: