The Scribbler

22 November 2010

Supporting the Town Moor Marathon

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 22:04
Tags: , , ,
Group of runners and supporters at Newcastle Town Moor marathon

A great bunch of runners

There’s no doubt running has changed me. Who would have thought that standing on Newcastle Town Moor for five hours on a cold, wet November Sunday is a memory I will cherish? 

I stood and cheered on brave and brilliant runners as they took on the five lap course of the Newcastle Town Moor marathon. In the rain, in the cold, we yelled, we clapped, we sang and offered jelly babies even to the vegetarians (sorry!).

I loved experiencing my first Fetchpoint as a runner at this year’s Great North Run. I think I loved being part of one even more. What a fabulous day!

Bag packed with dry warm clothes, more dry warm clothes, spare dry warm clothes, soup, sandwiches, jelly babies and cake, I was ready for a long day. But the time has never passed so quickly.

Meeting Lesley in the car park and lugging our worldly goods over to the bandstand. Blowing up balloons, getting dressed up and ready to cheer with Helen. Runners arriving, dropping off bags, bottles and more sweeties.

Fixing my Garmin around Ann’s wrist, willing him to behave and strangely proud that a piece of my kit was going to do a marathon.

Walking to the start line, scanning all the faces, wondering how they feel and how the story of this day will pan out for them. Hoping it’s a good one for some very special running buddies who have helped me so much this year, listening, inspiring, offering the right words at the right time.

And with no fuss at all, they’re off. And no, I have no desire to be running this. My running feels like it may be in a little dip at the moment. But that’s okay. It’s just a blip and it’s time for me to ease off and change focus.

Marathon is definitely not my distance in any case. But I’m proud to have something in common with all those brave and bold and fleet of foot today. The passion to run, to challenge yourself. To get out when other people are tucked up under duvets, to see and experience something of the world, right here, right now, with all its colour and greyness, its rises and falls, all its passion and pain.

Alastair (Scotty) on his way to a marathon PB

Alastair (Scotty) on his way to a marathon PB

How can hours go by in a blur? The leader comes through in a flash, kicking up his heels as he passes. And then it’s a stream of runners at regular intervals.

It’s a smallish field, with about 150 runners in total. So each one gets a shout as they come round to the end of a lap, a ‘well done’, ‘looking good’, ‘still smiling’.

We watch for the first Fetchie and cheer loudly at the first sign of a red and yellow shirt. But there are far more than I realise. I spot a 100 marathon club shirt and recognise Anna from her picture on the website. And someone else says, ‘That’s Ruth’. And pretty soon I’m looking for faces and coloured shirts and trying to snap photos.

Jeff looks strong. Focused but smiling every time he comes through. We even get a little birdie dance on one lap. You have a big heart fella. And I wouldn’t have missed your marathon for anything. It was an honour and pleasure to support you.

Rob comes flying through from the back of the field. And here are Kate and Ann, just looking like they’re out for a jog in the park (you are two amazing mammies).

Scotty aeroplanes past. Then a girl with a sunny smile as bright as her yellow top. Big Al with his fetching tutu. Ruth looking slinky in a little black number. Santa with Chanel ribbons in her plaits. 

Anna running strong as ever and not showing too many signs that she’s hating this as much as she said she would. Dave smiling as always. And who was the guy in the ridiculous tartan shorts? You always raised a grin when you came past.

When the rain falls I break out the umbrella and start singing. It’s that kind of a day.

So many people, so many stories. It’s been great to meet some of the runners from Fetch Everyone in real life this year. But many I only know as rather strange names on a running website. You’re almost like mythical creatures to me with your running achievements and triumphs. And here you are, running on my patch, in my adopted home town and I am so chuffed for you all.

Even for those of you whose run doesn’t quite go to plan. Actually, especially for you. I won’t try to tell your story. It’s yours to tell. But know that I felt for you when it was too tough. When the right decision was to stop. It puts my brief mental challenges and head down moments in much shorter challenges into some perspective.

We’ve lost count of laps hours ago. But time tells us that things are starting to wrap up and we watch for those coming round to the end of the last lap, offering a final boost and seeing the smiles and stumbles as we know you’re going to make it.

We cleared up all the leftovers, packed up the bandstand and went on our way home to hot baths, food and reflections. But my brain is still processing all the emotions and experiences, just as my body is dealing with the sugar.

I’m surfing on an adrenaline and sugar high, my brain buzzing with sights, sounds and feelings. Circuits overloaded with a rush of emotions. I’m punchdrunk, reliving an amazing day, sitting at my desk with my heart still out on the moor somewhere, enjoying a gentle recovery run, proud to be following in your footsteps.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] then came the marathon. Not running it, but supporting it on Newcastle’s Town Moor. What started as a casual mention on a Fetch forum came together as a plan thanks to the […]

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    Pingback by 2010 my running year « The Scribbler — 27 December 2010 @ 19:50 | Reply


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