30th September 2007
Our journey started on the Saturday at 8.00am on this long trip to Newcastle. We were shortly to meet up with friends and before we knew it we had checked in a lovely B&B that was recommended by our running club leaders Phil and Rita Vanes – and with a sea view as well!
By mid-afternoon all 5 runners and partners had arrived and we were basking in the Geordie sunshine – men tasting the ale, ladies tasting the water – and discussing last minute preparations for our big run.
Saturday night we wined and dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant then all took to our beds feeling rather full!
Alarm clocks went off at 5.45am ready for our porridge and after a few photos and a liberal application of Vaseline, we were on the shuttle bus taking us to the starting line feeling cold and nervous. After what seemed like a never-ending journey we found our way to the assembly field and wow, what a sight! There were thousands of people, reports were of some 75,000 including spectators, with 55,000 of them runners.
We got changed into our Hula-hula outfits (reluctantly for some may I add!) and topped up on the carbs with bananas.
We were in Pen H which was 2 Pens from the back which seemed miles from the starting line. The atmosphere was electric, the Red Arrows were passing so low overhead that you felt you could almost touch them. The music was very loud, which seemed like you were at a massive carnival and everyone had bright smiles on their faces.
The men had a treat as we saw Steve McClaren – as well as Bobby Robson, Carol Vordaman, James Cracknell and numerous soap stars being interviewed by Sue Barker. We talked about how lucky we were to get charity places from CRY to be able to take part in the fabulous event.
Then it was time to say goodbye to the men as we peeled off our bin bags and our had good luck kisses. We were ready to start ……………at least we thought we were, it took 22 minutes to actually cross the start line and there were still thousands behind us. This 22 minutes was very nerve-wracking – but what we focused on was the money we would be raising and all the people we would be letting down……. we’d got to do it!!
The crowds were magnificent and we had lots of encouraging shouts of “C’mon Hula Lasses, you are looking good – keep going” in an endearing Geordie accent, from little children to old ladies and well oiled men. It was also lovely to see so many CRY runners on the route – strangers that instantly became a friend!
There were 15 music bands on the route from bagpipes to brass bands to pop music, fantastic! Quite emotional and there were lots of ‘goosebumps moments’ for all of us as we entered tunnels and crossed the Tyne Bridge – everyone chanting “Oggy Oggy Oggy….!” which seemed to echo around the whole of Newcastle – it was like being in a massive team of thousands.
At 10 miles we were all more or less at the 1 hour 50 minutes mark. There are a few hills but quickly followed by down hills which we found OK.
However the 11 mile one was particularly hard, especially with the heat, but again the support from the spectators gets you through it and at this point you know you have only 2 miles left!
And there it was …the 800m to go sign, we loved this sign!!! From this point the noise level increased and it took everything to contain emotions that very soon we will have done It …………….and we did!
A very scenic finish along the coastline was all too much and we crossed the line with emotions that we couldn’t control, and very proud.
We all completed in very good respectable times and still with grass skirts intact and flowers in the hair!! Mission accomplished – well done girlies! We returned home the next day with a very smart medal to add to our collection and a memory to treasure always.
A ‘Thank You’ to CRY for letting us run for this charity that we hear and knew little about, but as we put up posters and gave out leaflets we hope we have highlighted the plight of this very worthwhile cause and reached a few more people. Most importantly we have raised much needed funds.
Pam Edmunds, Gail Edwards, Tracey Bennett, Sheryl Allman & Raj Sanghera