Much against my better judgement I’ve gone and entered Juneathon, don’t get me wrong, it’s not the running that bothers me so much as the writing about it, I am such a useless blogger! I don’t like doing it, don’t think I’m very good at it and it always brings out the “can’t be arsed” in me but I will be a brave little soldier and I will persevere. For example I ran a marathon pb 3 weeks ago but not a word of it have I written here – I am now going to get back into the swing of things but to save boring you all to death I won’t write about all three weeks at once.
Friday 4th May saw me driving up to Sunderland where I checked into the Balmoral & Terrace guesthouse which afforded a spectacular view of the North Sea from the Roker sea front. I was up early the next morning and much to my chagrin forsook a full English breakfast for a couple of slices of toast so that I could take part in Sunderland parkrun. ‘Twas an undulating but pleasant two lap course during which I endured rain, hail and even a bit of sunshine before stopping the clock in 31.37 officially.
Back to the guesthouse for a shower and change of clothes then off to Seaton Delavall Hall just north of Whitley Bay where my National Trust membership got me in for free. Very much a case of work-in-progress with much restoration work still to be done. Heading south again my English Heritage card felt a little left out so I spent the afternoon at Tynemouth Priory and Castle before heading back to the Stadium of Light in Sunderland for the pasta party.
A generous helping of pasta with carbonara sauce was washed down with Icoco coconut water with minted apple which, despite not being a coconut fan, I could quite easily develop a taste for. We were then treated to the vocal talents of two local songstresses (who’s names sadly evade me) before a very entertaining question and answer session with Steve Cram, Sally Gunnell and Alison Curbishley. Heading back to the b & b and just to make sure I was fully carbo loaded I stopped at a shop and bought an egg mayonnaise bap the size of a small dinner plate, that should do it!
Marathon of the North day dawned bright and clear and a pot of Oat-so-Simple took the place of a cooked breakfast and all too soon it was time to head for the Stadium of Light for a 9.15 start. They invited you to wear your red spotted hanky in an imaginative manner and mine certainly got some encouraging (I think!) comments though towards the end it made my head a bit warm so a neckerchief became the order of the day!
The course itself was reasonably flat with one tuffish hill at ten miles and given that it was run entirely within the environs of Sunderland the scenery wasn’t too bad either though “runninguponesideoftheroadandbackdowntheother” needs to be thought about before they run it again ’cause it was a little convoluted. That said the marshalls were all very friendly (as are most people from the North East) and some of the views when running along the coast were splendid. For me the test is always “would I do it again” and whilst there are many more I wish to try first the answer is yes I would.
In 1986 when I was a mere strippling of 31 I ran the Telford marathon in 3:48:49 and then, for some reason stopped running entirely. Since returning to running in 2008 this was my 6th attempt to break the 5hr mark and so I was more than a little delighted to come home with a chip time of 4:57:37 – mission accomplished! At 7 miles I was going so well that I had this crazy notion of maybe running a marathon a month next year but by 26.2 miles common sense was resumed and I decided that maybe Juneathon was a more reasonable ambition!