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2018 Great North Run - Richard Bell

09/09/2018

The 2018 Great North Run was a chilly start in Wetherby but the forecast from ‘further North’ suggested perfect conditions. Darren, Sean, Ted and I met at WSA at 6.30and travelled up in convey in 3 cars up the A1.

Wetherby tradition demands a stop at Washington services then the remaining 6 miles to South-shields was the usual log jam. We’d all agreed to travel in-convoy and then disaster just as we hit the coast I looked in the mirror and Sean and Darren were nowhere to be seen.

Ted and I made the car park as planned and then the idea was to meet at the Crown in event that we got separated . Well we waited 30mins at the crown, which smelt of bacon sandwiches, for as long as we could and then we had to jump on the bus to Newcastle.

 
Once arrived no time to mess about straight to the pens. I was in C Ted was in Iceland, or was that H? Anyway didn’t matter all pens were shut down. What to do? Fortunately one of the organisers was smuggling a last minute celeb in to the pen and quick as a flash Ted and I were in. Next to Mo. Ok not quite next but we could see his head bobbing about about 10yards in front as we were suddenly in Pen A. We’d missed the Champagne reception so I wasn’t that fussed - I was however concerned that we’d be trampled by the elites . After all I was trying not to besmirch my non existent reputation and Ted was looking for under 2 hours. And these guys were probably looking to half that.

“Let’s keep to the side Ted” I’d said as he was bouncing about ready to start in his green number and his Wetherby Vest. Yes Rob, the elites clearly thought Ted was an Olympic contender for Tokyo. Don’t go off too quick I said these guys will be sub 5 minutes - you’ll die.

Anyway the gun went off - I’ve done this race nearly ten times and didn’t even know they had a gun, and we were off. The first mile was uneventful of course we led off the OGGY OGGY under the bypass Mo didn’t join in at least I don’t think he did because he was probably a mile down the road by then. I looked at my watch 7.15 pace - great I thought and Ted was looking at his Garmin as if he thought a sub 1.30 was easily on the cards. We need to slow down I said- which is not easy with 58,000 people chasing you, trust me.

Eventually I got into a rhythm, I’d already blown Ted’s race I thought I may as well try to salvage my own.

I was over the Tyne Bridge before the Red Arrows had had their porridge but at least I’d slowed to a speed that was befitting my lack of training. As ever at Newcastle the fancy dress were out in force and I’d managed to pull away from Mr Bump which was a small victory. Next up was Super Mario who let’s face it was only slowed down by the size of his moustache and the fact that he was wearing a blue boiler suit. He proved a much more difficult adversary than Mr Bump. It was hot did I mention that? Anyway I may have been hallucinating but I was picturing the boss battle and if he’d deploy his mushrooms. Then I was past. By now I was in my head in a video game induced parallel universe and was looking to take over Lara Croft next - when horror, I was overtaken by a Rubicks Cube! Now this was very puzzling to me as I’m sure I’d passed him half a mile back. But these Rubicks cubes are twisty little b*&&& and not to be trusted. Especially as it was a complete one and I’d never managed more than two sides. Anyway as you can imagine this was rather personal.

It took a while but I saw off the dastardly cube and now I was at the 9mile marker. I collected the necessary 2 free samples of beer at mile 10.5, definitely not Newcastle Brown this year so my feedback from past races was obviously taken on board.

Now the final straight beckoned, I’d like to say I was desperate to shade under 1.50but frankly I was goosed and just wanted to finish.

The last mile,as any of you who have done the race know, is deceptively finish straight-esque. Only it’s not a finish straight it’s a bloody mile on wonky legs with a bit of chaffing thrown in for good measure. The crowds here are amazing and I really do love this race, which is why I keep coming back.

 
 
It was great to meet up with my fellow Wetherby Runners afterward at W - where else. Darren had had an absolute blinder, Sean had been boxed in a bit by a Transformer and the cast of Hollyoaks and Ted had ever so slightly blown up as a consequence of the platinum starting position - for which I am no way responsible.

 
 
Please get your names in for the ballot next year you’ll love it.