Friday, 18th September 2015
Mo Farah needn’t have worried. My time of 1 hour 58 mins was almost one hour behind the double Olympic champion who won this year’s Morrisons Great North Run with a typical last minute burst of acceleration.
It was a warm day that made going hard for the 57,000 runners who raised around £25 million for good causes. I was running for Cancer Research in support of my dad.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done the run but there’s always a great atmosphere. Crowds of locals line the route from Newcastle to South Shields offering drinks, jelly beans, fruit and general encouragement. There was the usual array of fancy dress among the runners – Scooby Doo, Peppa Pig, men in army fatigues and two lads in full security guard uniform with helmet and visor. I was amazed to see runners pushing people in wheel chairs and was a little embarrassed to see one still ahead of me towards the end.
When I was struggling during the 13.1 miles, I had the added incentive of knowing my three-year-old son and wife were waiting for me. I scanned the crowds for their faces as I wearily approached the finish line. I thought I had missed them but then I heard “Lee! Lee!” and I turned around to see them standing in the front row behind the barriers. That provided the inspiration I needed to cross the line with one final spurt.
Afterwards when we met at the pub for a celebratory drink, my son said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw you, daddy!” When I proudly showed him my runner’s medal, he said: “Did you win the Great Morrisons North Run, daddy?” “Everyone’s a winner, son,” I replied, “Everyone’s a winner.”