The Scribbler

25 September 2011

The Great Big Thank You 2011

Filed under: Great North Run — The Scribbler @ 17:00
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I’ve done this the last couple of years after the Great North Run and I feel like it’s a nice tradition to continue. So, first of all a big thank you to all of you who supported my fundraising for Sands. My online donation page is full of generous donations including some from people I’ve never met. With so many people doing so many things for good causes, I really do appreciate that you just can’t keep on supporting every one, so thank you.

No lesser thanks to all those who have supported me through comments on my blog here, or through online discussions on Fetch Everyone, twitter and facebook. Throughout this year, I’ve really come to believe that I could achieve my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon at the Great North Run, partly because I understand more about the best way for me to train, but more importantly because people who I respect and admire have believed in it too.

I could not believe how many people I knew at the finish and every single one asked ‘Did you get your sub 2?’ I guess I have gone on about it a bit, but it meant a lot to know that among your own amazing races you still remembered mine.

If I were to try and list everyone who has offered me a kindess, advice, support or even just a smile it would be a long list and I’d be bound to miss someone out. So please accept a blanket thank you.

But I do have to say special thank yous to Al, Lesley, Mark Willett and Jeff. Al/Scotty’s been gently nudging my mental attitude into a good place ever since he first commented on my first Great North Run blog post and is always a joy to run with. Lesley is my tri idol and someone I love to spend time with. I feel very lucky to have met them both.

Mark Willett may be surprised to see himself in that list, but little comments and well dones on my many running status updates coming from a runner who is himself hitting a fine run of form, really added to my confidence. The same goes for Jeff who always has time for me, and who it was a joy to see at the 9 mile point after a tough section of the race. Of course I should give an award to his dad, or Mystic Fred as I now think of him, who predicted my race time perfectly, despite me thinking it was over optimistic.

I want to say thank you to my Asic Gel Nimbus trainers. A mere 258 miles in, I’m sure we still have many more to look forward to. But you are my trusty travellers who’ve felt right from the very first run. You’ve never caused me a blister or a lost toenail.

And to all the volunteers, marshalls and support crew who help put on this amazing race. Every year I forget how many of you there are. But you’re brilliant. Especially the lady at the end near the elite tent who came over and gave my hand a squeeze as I got a bit teary and overwhelmed at what I’d just done.

And Tanni Grey-Thompson. The first year I grabbed a water bottle from you was a fluke. This year we had a date and there you were again. Only one of the UK’s best athletes giving up her time and making memorable moments for many runners.

A massive thank you of course goes to Gary, support crew extraordinaire. Who needs the elite’s minibus when you can be transported in style to the start? Who needs marathon photos, when he captures every grimace with 800m to go and the smiles and medals at the finish? Who need post-race nutrition drinks when he buys you fish and chips?

My running and training year seems ineluctably attached to this event and so September has become my time for looking back and looking forward. I could never have imagined when I first stepped onto the beach for a training session with Ian just how far that journey would take me.

Team Inspire had a great day at the Great North Run with three PBs smashed and Tony the Fridge getting lots of coverage and support for mad fundraising run carrying a 40k fridge.

Personally, I’ve completed not one, but three half marathons – each faster than then last. And just this year finished three triathlons – competing in three sports, rather than just one.

Miles and miles of training. Getting fitter, leaner and learning so much about myself. Doing things I never thought I was capable of. And finding so many friends. That’s real inspiration. That’s real deep in your heart stuff. And all it took was one person to get it started.

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