Friday 9th January – Thursday 14th January
Distance to Date – 43.06 miles
The week started well with my first donation from a ‘stranger’ through TF – a Mag that, like me lives in an SR6 postcode. Gave me a proper boost, that did so cheers man! Similarly to last week, I timed my run on Saturday to get me home for 3pm so I could listen to the Watford cup match. I was going for just over 11 miles on a shite route – running down to the Testo’s roundabout and down towards Whitemare Pool, joining the Great North Run route along most people’s nemesis, the John Reid Road and ending with a climb back into Cleadon. The weather as it happened was perfect, cool and misty but not raining and not for the first time I thought that the Great North Run itself is a testament to the warmth of the people in the North East, which much account for it’s popularity because the majority of the route is bleak and bloody awful!
The run also gave me plenty of time to think about NUFC as I do regularly when I’m out training. I didn’t fancy us at all in
the match and as much as I’d dearly love to be at Wembley with my dad while we’ve both still got the chance (mind, I’ll cark it before him!), I’ve almost given up on the notion – I’ll settle for him watching me come over the finish line in the marathon in a few weeks for our shared sporting glory instead. The 11 and a bit miles passed relatively easily and I actually enjoyed myself and although it’s very early days, the absence of tabs is making the running easier – the absence of drink is still torture mind.
I had an easy four mile on Monday night and then on Tuesday I found myself in Killingworth at 5pm after finishing a meeting from work. Ordinarily I’d be off to the Percy before the match for a few pints like a bullet but the thought of supping pop for a couple of hours with my mates didn’t appeal so I went for a swim at the Lakeside instead and made a right tit of myself. The swim was fine until I got back to the cubicle to get changed. I’d stuck my shoes on the ground with my keys and cash in them and while I was drying my hair, I heard a jangling of coins and looked down to see my shoe disappearing under the cubicle.
Assuming it was one of the bairns, probably aged 10 or so that had been having a swimming lesson in the pool at the same
time, I judged in an instant that barking out ‘Hoo you little twat’ before bolting out of the cubicle clad only in slightly ill-fitting towel was an appropriate response. As I turned the corner to the cubicle behind, I immediately had a ‘Will from the Inbetweeners at Thorpe Park’ horror moment as I saw a bairn of no more than two year old sobbing in shock with a shoe lying next to him. To compound matters, his mam who was just emerging from the cubicle next door with his older sister was greeted with an almost naked horror stricken man and her crying toddler with no obvious explanation. ‘He’s got my money!’ probably wasn’t the ideal response so once I’d signed the sex offenders register behind the front desk and made my excuses and left I made it to the match and really enjoyed it – I’d been dreading Man United at home sober and in no way ahem..relaxed but it was a cracking match.
I was lucky enough to go Pavel’s memorial service with my godfather on Wednesday and found it a really moving, fitting and emotional ceremony with the great and good of NUFC past and a range of other people that knew and loved Pav. The eulogies left a real lump in my throat and ‘Abide with Me’ always makes me wobble anyway and it was surreal thinking that Pav had fallen when he was out running around his own neighbourhood. He was well loved and he’ll be dearly missed.
The back end of the week of course has been bastard freezing but I managed six and a half miles on Thursday night before a curry on Ocean Road – pretty much the same mileage as last week but on course for the 1,000 and the ‘Brass Monkey Half Marathon’ to look forward to in York on Sunday morning to start to ramp the mileage up. If you would like to sponsor me for Mind, the mental health charity, my page is www.justgiving.com/Haz1000
and I’d be eternally grateful.
GARETH HARRISON – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892