Mono Monday: "Memorable" - Great North Runs

Ingeborg is kindly looking after MonoMonday this month, and she's chosen the theme "Memorable".

Once you're in your 60s you have so many memories, good, bad and indifferent.

The Great North Run has been a source of many happy memories for me. I'm sure most folks know about it, but in case you don't it's a race/fun-run half marathon (13.1 miles) from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields. Starting in 1981 it's been held every year since then; the 36th Run is taking place this coming Sunday. When it began there were about 12,000 runners, nowadays there's over 50,000 every year and it now boasts that it's the biggest half-marathon field in the world. It raises millions for charity in sponsorship. Initially the main commercial supporter was Thorn EMI Heating, then Diet Coke, followed for many years by BUPA and more recently by Morrisons.

I missed the first two Runs as I was living in Sheffield and didn't know about it. After I moved back to Newcastle though I took part in it in 1983 and 1984. Then moving house and expanding the family caused me to miss '85, '86 and '87. However I went back to it in 1988 and have done every Run since then - a tally of 30, with a consecutive series of 28 Runs. My times have varied between a reasonably respectable 1 hour 34 minutes (when I was "only" 48, about half-way through my series) to a not-so-respectable 2 hours 29 minutes (last year - I'm rather a lot older now!). The elite men complete the Run in just under an hour - wow!

I reckon over all the years my kind sponsors have donated about £15,000 to charities so it was all worthwhile - not to mention the fun of doing the Runs. (I'm not going to deny however having occasional thoughts at about the 9-mile mark as to why on earth I was doing this...!)

All this running has eventually taken its toll on my knees. There're not too bad at all, but I've decided (or at least my knees have!) that it's wise to stop running that sort of distance so I'll feel a bit weird not setting off from the start line this year. I'd been planning to go as a bystander to cheer on the runners and take some photos but maybe it's a good thing that I can't, as I'll be on the way back north with Son#3's belongings in a van that day.

The photo shows the entry form supplement from the local paper for the first time I ran (in '83). If you look carefuly you'll see the great Kevin Keegan there, along with the now-not-so-great Jimmy Savile. Surrounding the form are 29 medals. Why not 30? Well in 1992 they gave out plaques instead of medals - the plaque's in the lower left corner.

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