Recorded My First Ever Did Not Finish At The Great North Run 2012
Today was the day of the Great North Run and I was confronted with my worst fear when running a race (short of shitting myself or dying).
My race chip broke off my trainer before I crossed the start line and there was no chance of me retrieving it what with the sheer volume of runners.
At the time I felt strangely philosophical about it. It was as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders (or my foot).
I thought I’d be gutted but I just took it as an opportunity to not worry about my finishing time and to soak up the atmosphere.
And I did just that for the first 3 miles. Crossing the Tyne Bridge was great and the wall of sound coming out through the underpass was simply amazing.
The rest of the race wasn’t great in fairness. By halfway the roads narrowed and I was getting trapped behind others who were walking and there was no room to move.
Plus it was at this time that a gust of wind nearly blew my race number off.
My mood soured and I never really recovered after that. I thought a lot about packing it in, hailing a cab and paying a visit to Whitley Bay to score a fishing rod, nightgown, KFC Bargain Bucket and a can of lager.
I felt like a jockey-less horse in a derby with my chip long since trampled to pieces. The only difference is that I was going slower than most of the other horses.
I managed to burn through a quarter of a mile by staring at a guys head and playing a game in my mind to see how much I could hate him for merely existing. It made sense at the time. Now it just feels like the invasive thoughts of a dickhead with no self control.
Still it was fun. And I meant no harm to the guy. In fact I hope he won the race.
By mile 11 I was royally fucking peeved. The race number was all but off and I felt like giving into the elements, ripping my top off and sprinting to the finish whilst cursing Brendan Foster for his crappy bibs and gammy Geordie race chips.
But it was unfair to blame Foster, Coe, Shearer or even Gascoigne.
It was my fault and my fault alone. I should have at least tried the race chip on my shoe long before the start of the race.
I wasn’t having fun. I knew that if I lost my race number then I’d have had no way of getting my baggage back from the bus. No race number, no bag.
Afterwards I had a hard job of getting my bag back anyway as the baggage label had fallen off my rucksack (a hat-trick of fuck-ups) and I had to describe the contents of my coat pocket to get it from them.
“A Samsung Galaxy, A Peanut Butter Kit Kat Chunky and a monthly rail ticket from Carrickfergus to Great Victoria Street, Belfast”
After the misery hit 11, I cheered up a little as I passed runners in all sorts of fancy dress and continued on running whilst clinging my number tight to my chest like my tits were ready to fall off.
I managed to enjoy the run into South Shields and the jog down to the finish line.
Whilst I didn’t get a chip time I crossed the line in 2:12 feeling strong, if not a little deflated.
I guess the thing I’ve learnt from this experience is that your official time doesn’t really matter as much as taking part and finishing.
Knowing that I wasn’t gonna record a time, it would have been easy to have just stopped at the start when the chip came off.
But where is the fucking fun in that?
Instead I made sure that every race photographer around the course seen me and my number. For a moment I felt like a sweaty, exasperated vampire trying to prove his very existence.
More Positive Reflections.
My favourite moment of the day was trying to climb over the barrier into my pen before the race had started.
I’ve never been one for gymnastics and this quickly showed when I got my leg stuck up on the barrier and some guy had to pull me over.
When I landed over into the pen I ended up with my arm around his shoulders laughing my head off at my own clumsiness.
He was cackling hard too.
A great moment.
The Red Arrows at the beginning were amazing too. When I heard them overhead I welled up at the sight and the sound.
This was new to me as I only tend to get hysterical when inside aircraft rather than gazing up at them.
I’ll be back in Belfast tomorrow where I’ll upload my Garmin Connect route and give you a proper review.
But for now, tara.