Saturday 2 November 2002

Consett to Sunderland Marina

This was the most challenging day yet. I had 5 hours in which to reach the finish line. The press were to be at the Hospice at 1pm so I had to run a decent time in order to get my photo taken. I had to run at a pace slightly quicker than last year's New York Marathon if I was to finish in time.

It was a nice and easy first 15 miles downhill into Washington. I had asked Katy to meet me in Washington as I would do the first 15 miles unassisted. This was a key factor in getting me to the finish line on time. I had a quick sandwich at Washington Wildfowl Park before embarking on the remaining 9 miles.

The weather wasn't great but that still didn't stop me putting in a decent time. The 9 miles to Sunderland Marina felt like 19 miles though. The long winding cycle path along the River Wear seemed agonisingly long and winding!

At last though, as I passed Sunderland Glass Centre I had the Marina in my sights. And there was Katy waiting for me. I made it to the coast line at 3 minutes to 1. After getting my photo taken I quickly jumped into the car and we drove to St Benedict's Hospice. I got out just before we arrived and ran into the Hospice grounds where a small crowd awaited.

It was so nice to receive the applause of the crowd. Aunty Joyce presented me with a small home made medal and Katy received 3 sets of flowers. 1 from me, 1 from Aunty Joyce and 1 from the Hospice. The Sunderland Echo were on hand for photographs.

Anne Oliver and a couple of Hospice volunteer staff had organised a buffet and cups of tea for everyone. Just what you need after running the width of the country! I also received St Benedict's equivalent of a Blue Peter Badge which will sit proudly in my trophy cabinet.

After I had freshened up most of us went to a local pub for a pint or 6. I think I lasted until about 7.30 and as usual Dan and Amanda outlasted everyone else. Thanks must go to Dave Cook for a double Jack Daniels which ensured I had a bit of a sore head the following morning.

I got a couple of nice surprises in the pub. My sister in law and her husband upped their sponsor money to £1 per mile. Yes £140. Dave and El Cook wrote the Hospice a nice big cheque for £50 as did Alan and Elaine Coleman. And an old work mate, Joe Docherty, popped in and dropped some cash off. I hadn't seen Joe for some time and he obviously knew where I planned to be by reading my website. All in all an extra £200 was added to the fund. The fund stood at £1632.80 as I downed my 7th(ish) pint of the afternoon. I'll drink to that!