0830 – 0930
I had finally left the miserable confines of The Swallow Gateshead Hotel to make my trip to Gateshead International Stadium. Surprisingly I arrived at the stadium within 15 minutes so I was officially two hours early for the run. Luckily, because I was so early I got first pick of the portaloos before they all got a bit messy and sticky and all the soap and toilet paper disappeared. I spent most of the next half hour walking back and forth from the start line to the toilets (In total I went four times which I think is currently my pre-race record for visits to the toilet).
I eventually made my way down to my wave area and sat on the grass applying deep heat for the next hour waiting for the warm up to begin.
0930 – 1030
It was now half an hour before the warm up began and I suddenly found myself at the front of my wave. It was starting to rain which was good as it was a little bit muggy beforehand so this would definitely clear the air. Just before the warm up I suddenly felt a pang of nervousness attack me which isn’t unusual for me to be honest this didn’t last long however as the scissor lift appeared with the trainer on to do the warm up. Unlike the Manchester run I found that I had a bit more space to actual do some of the warm up so by the end of it I actually felt stretched and ready to go.
1030 – 1042
And they’re off…The Orange Wave featuring the elite runners which included Team GB Olympic hopeful Scott Overall get underway. It’s all starting to get a bit exciting now as my wave are moved up a little bit more. A little over 6 minutes later and the White Wave are on the move, which included a guy in full Minnie Mouse costume, and my wave are moved up even further. Two minutes on and 172 Gurkhas are set on their way in their own special wave. We are now next on the blocks and I’m one person short of the front of my wave, fingers crossed this could be a good start.
Are you ready Green Wave? Then 3.2.1…Go. We’re off and within seconds I’ve started strong and possibly a little faster than I anticipated or wanted to. There is only five people in front of me and I feel confident that I can keep up with them.
1km to 2km
Upon crossing the 1km marker I checked my watch to see how I was doing and at this pace I was currently on for around a 50 minute finish which was my aim at the start of the race. At some point between 1km and 2km I passed Scott Overall and was amazed at how fast the guy was travelling. Notable music hightlight – Hysteria (Def Leppard, obviously)
2km to 3km
It was starting to get a little hilly now but the views were lovely this was the part of the race where we started running alongside the River Tyne I felt fairly strong but my goal at the moment was to get to 3km without blowing my calf again like I did in Manchester. As an aside this was around the point that I pulled up alongside Minnie Mouse and we both looked at each other. It was a little strange when someone with a massive Minnie Mouse head turns to you and says “Alright?” Notable music hightlight – Make Love Like a Man (Still Def Leppard)
3km to 4km
I’ve made it past the 3km marker and nothing has gone in my calf. This is a promising sign and urges me to step it up a notch. As a timing device to myself I’ve noticed that I’ve just passed the runners shower which is on the other side of the route about 2km away from where I was. I set myself a goal of 10 minutes to reach the shower. Notable music hightlight – Switch 625 (You guessed it, Def Leppard).
4km to 5km
It’s not long now until the turning point where the runners make their way back along the other side of the route. I’m starting to hear loud music now which means that there is probably some sort of radio station set up at the turn. Upon making the turn I noticed there was a table with some Metro Radio lanyards and was surprised at how many people scrambled to get them almost knocking each other out in some cases. I remember thinking to myself that it was only a lanyard and I wasn’t going to ruin my run to try and get one. Notable Music Highlight – Gods of War Live (Let’s just assume from now on that all of these songs are by Def Leppard).
5km to 6km
I arrived at the shower at just over 8 minutes which was a result and the shower itself was very refreshing and welcoming (not to mention much better than the one at The Swallow Hotel Gateshead).The Tyne Bridge was in my sight and I knew that once I hit that I wasn’t far off The Millennium Bridge. I hit another peak at this point and pushed on again in an attempt to get past some of the runners who had bunched up in front of me. Notable Music Highlight – Let’s Get Rocked.
6km to 7km
And I want, and I need, and I lust ANIMAL… Def Leppard’s Animal has just come on my Ipod and I cannot resist the urge to sing the whole song. All I can remember about this stretch is some of the funny looks I am getting from runners and onlookers as I run along singing to myself. Notable Music Highlight – Erm.. ANIMAL.
7km to 8km
I’M BLEEDING. Yet again, despite the pre-race Vaseline, my nipples are bleeding. I vow to forget about them and just keep pushing on. Oh look, there’s the Millennium Bridge not long to go now. Notable Music Highlight – Slang
8km to 9km
It’s getting a little messy now. We appear to have all bunched up on a small bridleway/path and it’s difficult to get past people. There’s a big hill coming up as well which I’m ready for but I just can’t get around anyone. Notable music highlight – Rock of Ages.
9km to 10km
The final stretch, having just got past the hill it starts to open up and we hit the road again towards Gateshead International Stadium. I can hear loudspeakers and some crowd noise so I know I’m not far away which gives me a bit of a buzz and I start to open up my stride in an attempt to make up for lost minutes on the short path. We’re directed towards the stadium and the entrance to the track and as soon as my feet hit the track I think to myself I’m having this…my arms start pumping and my legs start moving and before I know it I’m running like T1000 from Terminator 2. As I enter the last 200m I know I’m running faster than everyone else and the crowd know it too. I can hear a little roar as I pass them and one solitary voice shouts “Go on Son” (it wasn’t my dad but it was more than welcome). As I cross the finish line the guy on the loudspeaker says “That was a good finish from that chap in his FAN T-Shirt”. Notable Music Highlight – Stand Up Kick Love Into Motion
AT THE FINISH
As I crossed the finish line, and became more aware of the blood issue, I made my way to collect my bag and saw that people around me who had just finished also had Orange and White wave bibs on. I knew that I must’ve had a good run if I was finishing around the same time as people in waves which started 6-12 minutes before I had. After collecting my goody bag and medal I made my way out of the stadium and suddenly felt a little bit of sadness as I passed families reuniting and people taking pictures I realised that I had no-one to share that post race buzz with there and then. After a walk back to the hotel to get my bag and then a walk to the train station I felt thoroughly stretched out. On the train on the way home I checked my result:
Position:1154 BibNumber:3407 Name:Steven Claringbold Time:00:52:14
Overall I was happy with my time. I was a little disappointed I hadn’t come in under 50 minutes but I now knew that it was possibility that I could and that was something to aim for next time. Motivation for myself: Over 3,500 people took part and I finished 1,154.
Next up The Cross Border Challenge – Gretna to Carlisle 29th July 2012.