Okay, not so much fatboy as love-handle boy, but the Great North Run 2008 was still a challenge!
As per usual, I was a little late booking a place to stay but was incredibly lucky to find a characteristic little guest house called Bush Nook about a month beforehand, situated along the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle.
Due to the bad weather on the way up on Saturday, I was rather late arriving and the owners were starting to wonder if I would arrive at all. I did ... seven hours after I set off. I know I'm not a speedy driver, but that's a long time even for me.
The forecast was that there would be showers on the Sunday morning, so I had made sure that I had a suitable running jacket. I didn't need it. When I opened the curtains first thing Sunday morning I was greeted with a view that made me long to live in the hills:
Okay, it was in the middle of nowhere, but soooooooo peaceful!!
Ask anyone I went to school with and they will eagerly tell you I was the least athletic or sport-oriented person they had ever met, prefering to hide behind my asthma wherever I could get away with it. Just the thought of a games session would make my lungs start wheezing like a clogged up extractor fan.
I think even my sports teacher thought I was a lost cause ... I was not a sporty person!
Okay, I can argue that I am still not a sporty person, but at least I can now hold my own with Mr Average Runner. Despite the inability to run for 1.5 weeks beforehand, I still managed to knock around three minutes off my 2006 time, coming in at position 21,497 out of 52,000 with an official time of 2:14:40 - a vast improvement for me considering I was always last in the cross country run at school!!
If you fancy checking out the rest of the stats, why not pop over to the Great Run Results page and search for race number 25261 ... see, I really did it :-D
To top it all, people have been more generous than ever before and donated over £500 for Marie Curie Cancer Care, so thank you to you all for your generosity ... which leaves me with just one more thing...
As promised, this run was dedicated not just to members of my own family who have left us, but also to those people whose families donated in memory of them:
They will be missed.