Sunday, 12 August 2007

Day 37 - Praise from one of thee Geordie greats!

One of the first emails I've looked at since finishing at Lands End is the following one from the one and only Jimmy Bell. Jimmy is a veteran international runner attached to Elswick Harriers. He tackles the Great North Run in something like 1 hour 13 minutes. To receive praise like this from one of the "greats" in the world of North East athletics is praise indeed! Jimmy is on the road to recovery from cancer and has been an inspiration to me over the last 6 years.

"Hi Mark,

Now that you're on the last lap of your epic journey I wanted to let you know how proud I am of you. What you have achieved is nothing short of remarkable and truly heroic.

Up till now there's only ever been one person I've regarded as a hero and that is Emil Zatopek who won 3 gold medals in 8 days at the 1952 Olympics for the 5000m, 10000m and marathon, something no-one else has ever done and which no modern distance athlete would even consider. Well, in my eyes you are up there with him.

You may not win any gold medals for what you've done but what you have won is the admiration and respect of all those countless Geordies who've been following you every step of the way. And the staggering amount you've raised for the St Benedict's Hospice is worth much more than a sackful of gold medals. Anne Oliver must be tickled pink with you!

I don't suppose you've got The Final Countdown by Europe on your iPod but that would have been so appropriate for your last few miles.

When it's all over I think you should treat yourself to a proper Cornish pasty and a pint of the local beer - St Austell Tribute seems a fitting one to have.

I'll give you a ring tonight when I get back from 'visiting mam duties'.

Keep it going Mark, not far now and always remember - WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!