By Lorna Pearson
A spectator’s point of view and ‘A podium place for Claremont’
First of all I would like to say well done to all our runners in these two events. However, I must by start by congratulating our Catherine Young for coming 2nd in the ladies marathon race; absolutely amazing performance and a PB bonus.
It was truly a Marathon of the North, with podium places for local clubs and local runners. Also it was a true reflection, that age has no barriers where long distance running is concerned. The male podium places: senior, V40 and V55 [actually 59] and the female podium places: V45, senior and senior.
Now for a spectator’s point of view……
I woke up to find blue skies, however after yesterday’s inclement weather I dressed for the worse; well there was hail/snow at park run the day before. Well even on the metro I was starting to regret it but was glad for our runners, maybe with a slight worry it was heating up quite quickly.
I was wondering when the bus jokes would start and they did on the metro. I had been telling people to wait for the stop after the Stadium of Light metro station, as it was quicker; this was passed around and some people were looking doubtful. So I bravely shouted, “It’s okay, I worked beside the stadium, I’m not sabotaging your chances”; to which some bright spark from NSP, yelled, “She’s from Sunderland, she’s taking us for the bus”. The whole carriage burst out laughing but looked smugly on as the other carriage alighted at the Stadium of Light stop, looking slightly concerned at us for not leaving the metro as well. They all then cracked on when we reached St Peters station, “where is she, she should have a tour guide flag” – I don’t think I lost anybody!
On reaching the stadium it was alive with runners and supporters, I only managed to find Sumanth and Jamie from our lot. Wishing them luck and clutching the route map Jamie had kindly gone and retrieved from his bag, I set off for my first cheering point. Due to the nature of the course I’d worked out I could intercept the runners hopefully 3 or 4 times, if I timed it right. My first point of call was the bridge and it was nice to see other supporters standing around. However through the day, it became apparent which people were following athletes; you kept bumping into the same people moving from site to site.
At the bridge I cheered everyone alone, hollering at our team and then moved into the city centre; where I bumped into Dave Daniels from Park Run/TBH. It is thanks to him I managed to follow my plan; he was more up on the timings of things. The two races were well timed/planned so I managed to catch most of our team and people I knew from Park Run/other club races, several times.
– The 10k, twice, where Dave Manners carried the flag for Claremont.
– The Marathon five or six times, including the finish.
Plus Bill, I found out later, was cycling around the outreaches of the different legs from the city centre. Supporting and recording the moment by camera; if anyone else was down supporting, sorry to omit you.
Throughout the race, I saw, all our team was running smoothly and seemed to be enjoying the atmosphere – well as much as they could when running 26.2 miles. At one stage Jamie and Sumanth were close together, which I believe was recorded on Monkwearmouth Bridge.
After supporting everyone at various stages; even a mystery Claremont person who I hadn’t met before, who later I learned was Adrian Conlin; I moved to the finish at the stadium.
The finish was well done and everyone had their moment of glory; being announced as they reached the finish line, where possible if there wasn’t too many runners at once.
– Roberto was first over for us in a PB for a marathon, beating his Kielder time.
– Then Jamie, he wanted to beat 3 hrs 25 mins and later we learnt he just made it; he was well chuffed being announced ‘Jamie Harding, Claremont’ as he came into the finish.
– After that Catherine, with a PB, really stressed because her Dad had entered her without putting down she was Claremont and she wanted to change it. This is why I hadn’t noticed her running on the course at first, she hadn’t had her top on and I wasn’t sure. She hadn’t like to wear it as she wasn’t entered under Claremont; which later we told her, she should have just worn it anyway.
– Then came Sumanth, who caused us some concern; I found out he’d struggled in the latter stages and we were wondering where he was. However he still managed a PB, well done.
After this I heard the organisers calling for the podium finishers and then it really sunk in why Catherine was wanting it recorded she was Claremont. I had moved to behind the finish when the lads crossed the finish and hadn’t realised she had come 2nd. So I ran off in pursuit to find her; when I did, I had three missions to help her.
– To go the athletes information point, to make sure she was down as Claremont when the results were released
– To ensure the presenters knew, when it was announced.
– finally to find her a vest, to which I had to sweet talked the marshal on the tunnel coming out of the competitors’ area in the stadium; to allow me to get Jamie who I could see. He valiantly joined in the cause by offering to go and retrieve his clean long sleeve Claremont top but Catherine didn’t care about it being clean. She just wanted a top, any Claremont top; so she wore his vest, yes the one he’d just ran 26.2 miles!
She proudly received her prize, while we raised the roof so to speak. Catherine had a smile to match a Cheshire cat and wore her well worn vest Claremont vest proudly.
Just after the ceremony, I went in search of Nina; to meet her grinning from ear to ear as well coming towards me. This was her first marathon and she had not only gone under 4 hours but under 3hrs 50 mins.
Finally I had just left Nina, when I saw Adrian going towards the finish; cheered him on and then I tried to find him after the finish but missed him. Congratulations to him as well. After emailing him afterwards, he was hoping for another under 4 hours but still more than happy.
As I left, people were still coming in strongly even after running 4.30 to 5 hrs, for which they have my utmost admiration.
I now write this after the event and I feel like I have also run a marathon, by just supporting it. My face is burnt from the sun, I’m shattered, my feet are killing me and my throat sore from yelling; plus I have bruised hands/sore arm muscles from clapping so much. However I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, it was an honour to watch everyone’s training come together.
Well done every single runner who started, all the Claremont team and finally Catherine for putting herself and Claremont on the podium.
Our finishers were :