If you’d like to help fight cancer then I and, far more importantly, cancer sufferers around the world, would be immensely grateful for any donations to Cancer Research : https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Dan-Thompson11
Date : 26th May, 2018
Time : 1h 02’ 27”
Number of runners : 32
Total distance run to date : 1470 km
Run map and details : https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2732990391
I wasn’t sure how to start this blog. Should I write about the great city of Newcastle? And all the warmth, help and support I received there? Or about how nervous I felt before this – my first of 45 UK runs? (Taking my global total to 250 runs – which is equivalent to running 2 500 000 metres. A metre for every cancer sufferer in the UK.)
Or about Mike and the group of friends I go walking with every May. (This year’s walk had been along the Northumbrian coast meaning that we’d come into Newcastle that morning after a night in Whitley Bay.)
All fine topics but I think I’m going to start by writing about that most un-British of subject matters – emotion.
After the welcome speeches from CRUK’s Carolyn – who talked about the Northern Institute for Cancer Research’s fantastic work – and myself, two runners approached me to say that the day before they’d attended the funeral of one of their closest friends who’d died from cancer. They’d taken a collection at the funeral and were going to donate the money raised to cancer research.
I was struck by their generosity and thoughtfulness. And their grief. Which I could almost physically feel – and which took me back to my mother’s fight against cancer and its cruel, harrowing, killing clutches.
By this stage I was tearing up and it took a ‘manly’ throat clearance or two before I could make my way to the start of the run.
But before we get on to the run, I’d like to take us back to the preceding Wednesday when I’d arrived in Newcastle. Active Newcastle had provided us with great support from the outset and had introduced us to Garry, the Policy and Communication Business Partner at Newcastle City Council. Garry met me at Exhibition Park and we spent about an hour on photos and video from which he put together the following video. I can’t bear to watch myself on film but I’m told he did a pretty good job.
From there I made my way to St. James’ Park, one of the world’s great football grounds, to meet up with Ashley from the Newcastle United Foundation and to attend one of their FREE fitness classes. (Which include High Intensity Interval Training and Running Fitness classes every Wednesday 5.30 – 6.45 pm. Give them a go – they’re professionally coached and very friendly!)
Between some of the people from the class, some people who’d seen Garry’s video, the walking crowd, some extended family, Michael’s local contacts and a team from Womble Bond Dickinson, there were about 30 of us at the bandstand in Exhibition Park for the start of the run.
For those who don’t know it, Exhibition Park contains the aforementioned bandstand, some tennis courts, a pond, a skate park and a cafe. And a brewery.
From Exhibition Park we made our way on to Town Moor, which is an extraordinary 1000 acre green space in the centre of Newcastle. Home to hundreds of cows, it hosts the annual Hoppings, Europe’s largest travelling fair, each June. If you’re ever in the area, it’s also an ideal place to run and walk.
The run itself was a mix of the pleasure of running and meeting new people. And the sadness of hearing more about the funeral and the friend who’d died unexpectedly early of breast cancer.
All in all , it was great – if emotional – run.
Huge thanks to everyone who supported the run / walk and Cancer Research UK. To Jodi and Active Newcastle. To Garry and Newcastle City Council. To Ashley and the Newcastle United Foundation. To Mike and the walking boys – Julian, Nic, Julian, Paul (and not forgetting Ann Marie and Gilly from the entourage!). To Chris and Misa, from my extended family. To Asmah, Alison, Sadia, Francis and David from Womble Bond Dickinson. To Mike’s friends including Ian and Lucy. To Carolyn from CRUK. (Photos of all these good folk below.)
As Mike likes to remind me, I am a namby-pamby, smashed avocado eating, foreign lager drinking southerner but I loved being in Newcastle and I hope to see you all down south one of these days. Perhaps for the London leg of Run the World on July 4th 2020!
Please like Run the World on Facebook to receive notification of future blogs and news about runs, races and running clubs across the world. And also just to show your support because, however silly it may sound, it makes all the travel and running that little bit easier if you think people care!
Womble Bond Dickinson
(Some of the) walking boys
Chris & Misa
Cows (Town Moor)
Attempting to map read