First, a huge thank you to all my race sponsors. Together we were able to raise a total of approximately $3,000 for children’s charities in the USA and UK. I am so proud of us all for that ;0)
NSPCC in the UK GBP 712, plus 121 Gift Aid = GBP 834
Thompson Child & Family Focus in the USA $1,690
The race day was incredible. I lined up with 55,999 of my newest friends, did a half-hour mass warm-up, then set off on the trek to the start line about 20 minutes down the road we were lined up on. Just moments after I crossed the start-line and started running, the Red Arrows flew over on their way to the Tyne Bridge. The Red Arrows are the RAF’s aerobatic team who perform at various large events and always at the Great North Run. That was a really fantastic and emotional start to the race.
There were large crowds running around me the whole way round the course, as you would expect with that many competitors. The mass of runners obscured my view of the hills and inclines, and there were so many things going on at the sidelines; bands playing music, supporters shouting and clapping, and charity cheering squads, that those difficult parts hardly registered.
I ran almost the whole 13.1 miles. I had to take a bathroom break around mile 8, then a short walk at mile 10. I had only been walking a couple of minutes at mile 10 when I saw the Red Arrows again, performing their main display over the coast road. That gave me the strength and inspiration to start running again.
Around mile 12 there is a steep decline down to the coast road, then a turn onto the final road to the finish line, which lines the cliffs at South Shields. After the decline is a final uphill which I had been dreading. I made it though and only had that last mile to run. I am so proud of myself for running it. The run numbers you wear have your name printed on them and the crowd read and shout them out loud, giving massive encouragement in that final stretch.
I crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 52 minutes and 1 second. I remember the very first Great North Run in 1981 and thought I would never be able to do something like that. I am happy beyond belief that 32 years later I have done it and all to honour my brother, David.
When I got back to base, I made a spreadsheet of all my knitter donations and allocated draw numbers based on when and how much was donated. There were 186 numbers from the knitsters donations of $880 and GBP 55. I then used this random number generator to pick the winning number:
So, our lucky winner is "Seattlesparkle" on Ravelry. Congratulations to her. We are in touch to arrange how she'd like me to finish the blanket and I'll post update photos as and when I progress with that.
Thank you all so much for joining me on this incredible journey, it has been a blast. Tune in to find out what my next challenge is going to be...