Great North Run 2009
Graeme on Mount Kilimanjaro June 2004 On a Fund raising trek for SCOPE

Graeme's sister, Rachel completed the Great North Run on Sunday 20th September.

Rachel had been disappointed that she was unable to run in the Paris Marathon in April and so she decided to have another go at the Great North Run. Rachel and several other Team Graeme supporters completed the run for the first time in 2007 - a report and photos of that run can be seen by clicking here Great North Run 2007.

The Great North Run has been going for 28 years and is the biggest half marathon in the world. This year there were 54,000 entries and it is estimated that over 40,000 people actually started.

The weather on the day was absolutely beautiful. Rachel parents, Anne and Keith, went along to support Rachel and stood on the south side of the Tyne Bridge where they met Rachel's boyfriend, Graham. Graham had walked down to the starting area with Rachel and then across the river to wait with Anne and Keith. A virtually cloudless sky and slight breeze meant that it was a great day to watch but probably a bit too warm for running. The race started for the elite group at 10.15 and by 10.50 the first group of ordinary runners had started to cross the bridge as seen below.

The sight of thousands of people running across the Tyne Bridge is quite something. They are dressed in their colourful and sometimes ridiculous costumes, some of which must have been uncomfortably hot after running for a while. Look out for Fatbat and Robin in the photo below.

The Red Arrows made their usual and spectacular flight over the Tyne Bridge and then over the city

The runners just kept coming including a guy dressed as a tree in the photo below.

We wondered if we had somehow missed Rachel. Although she knew where we would be she may not have been able to get across the road on the bridge to the side where we planned to stand.
Rachel started at 11.10 am and we saw her crossing the Tyne bridge at 11.25 when the photo below was taken.

Rachel passes us and then runs up what probably seemed like a very steep hill into Gateshead where she can be seen disappearing into the distance.

We then had a cup of coffee and caught the Metro to South Shields to wait for Rachel at the finishing line with our distinctive orange Team Graeme banner.

By the time we reached South Shields the Red Arrows were doing some amazing displays as shown in the photos below.

We waited for about 30 minutes holding our banner before Rachel came running up with her medal and bag of goodies. We were quite a distance from the finish because of the crowds but Rachel easily saw the Team Graeme banner and ran towards us.

Here is the triumphant half-marathoner with Graham and Anne under the banner.

After Rachel donned her tracksuit and thermal cloak we then had the long walk back to the Metro station (and, despite not having been the ones running 13.1 miles, we jokingly complained about our long day and sore legs).

Rachel completed the run in 2 hour and 26 minutes which is 29 minutes faster than her first GNR. This was still slower than she had hoped but a great effort and hopefully worth all the training. Rachel already plans to run again next year and clock up another PB!

Rachel is still collecting sponsorship and we will publish the total when we add it all up.

But the donations already for this run have taken out total amount raised past the £14,000 mark. Thank you to everyone for this and if anybody would like to make a donation in support of Rachel's run then please click here Donations.