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Joan Takes On The Great North Run and 70 at 70!

What a fantastic day, The Red Arrows in the sky, continuous support from the spectators, high fives from the children, refreshments and cooling showers from sponsors and supporters alike.

It all started with wanting to lose weight and to keep it off! My son said to me ‘to do that Mother you are going to have to eat less and get more exercise’. What a challenge, but since I enjoy Walking, particularly on my own, this seemed a good the way to tackle it. So how did I come to enter The Great North Run along with over 50,000 other people?

Well this was also the year in which I was going to be 70, but I didn’t want to celebrate that at first, until I thought of my father who had died at 68 from stomach cancer and hadn’t had the opportunity to mark such an occasion. So I decided perhaps this was something to celebrate after all but not in the usual way. Perhaps I could develop the idea of a challenge and complete another 69 of them in this birthday year. So ‘70 at 70’ is what this year has been about. 

From eating an oyster (yuk!), picking up a worm to reading through War and Peace and the complete works of Charles Dickens (blame the TV programme Dickensian on that one). My family joined in, ‘go with me on the big slide Grandma‘ (3 year old grandson) and ‘Go Ape’ (my daughter in law), 3 Peaks Yorkshire, raise £1000 for charity, and something I had always wanted to do ‘The Great North Run’ were all suggestions given. The only problem was, I can’t run, so that seemed to be ruled out, until scrolling through Walking Challenges, I came across the Walk the Walk site which seemed to suggest that you can Power Walk The Great North Run. After making tentative enquiries and a phone call to my daughter asking if she fancied doing it with me, we suddenly found ourselves as part of the ‘Power Walking’ Walk the Walk Team. And what an amazing team it is! 

Soon I was receiving encouraging emails from Team Leader Sam, with all kinds of info. From the best Walking shoes, training, nutrition, fundraising ideas, picking up the pace, possible places to stay in Newcastle. Nothing was too much trouble for her. She too was going to Walk on the day and encouraged us in the build-up. Before we knew it the day was upon us. Sam had arranged for us all to meet prior to the start and how wonderful it was to be able to put faces to names in the team. There was about twenty of us in the team on the day, all in our iconic Walk the Walk t-shirts and decorated bras.

The excitement and nerves were building as we Walked to our starting places and waited in the sun for the race to begin. What an emotional time it was as we heard of other participant’s stories and why they were doing what they were doing. Most of the people we spoke to or saw from their tops, were doing it for others, charity after charity was represented and millions of pounds were to be raised that day. Slowly at first but gradually increasing in pace we made our way to the actual Start Line, then we were off.

What a fantastic day, The Red Arrows in the sky, continuous support from the spectators, high fives from the children, refreshments and cooling showers from sponsors and supporters alike. My daughter and I were separated from the bigger group at the start but Sue, another member of the official Walk the Walk team Walked with us, encouraging us throughout the 3 hours 50 minutes it took to reach the Finish Line. The other members of the Walking team, along with a smiling, tearful, Sam were waiting. Medals received, photos taken, goody bag and official finishers t-shirt given, what a day, what wonderful memories!

Don’t wait until you’re 70 to have a go - challenge yourself, if I can do it - so can you!

Joan

Inspired to join Walk the Walk's Great North Run team in 2017? Register your interest and we will be in touch. 

 

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