The Bupa Great North Run, held in September each year, is firmly established as the world’s most popular half-marathon and is covered extensively on TV and radio. Less than 5,000 runners were expected to take part in the inaugural event from Newcastle to South Shields in 1981 so organisers were astounded when more than 12,500 applied and over 10,000 of them completed the first race.
Members of the Newcastle University Water Polo teams are taking part in this year’s Great North Run on Sunday 19 September 2010. They will wear just their speedos (we hope it’s warm!) in order to raise money for The Myles Robinson Memorial Trust but also simply because Myles would have wanted them to do it and it would have brought a stupid wide smile to his silly face.
They are: Alex Smith, Ed Freeman, Michael Smith, Chris Pillar, Michael Garland, Terry Clarke, Luke Watkins, Callum Stewart, Louise Gilmer, Chris Ashton, Dan Stout, Nick Caulfield, Tom Girling, Lara Rachelle Mitchinson & Charlotte Horner.
Ed Freeman’s report:
It all started at 9am on the Sunday morning where, bolstered by a few warm up drinks the evening before, 16 members of the Newcastle University Water Polo team (past and present) stood huddled in Speedos with supporters a few metres away carrying the now discarded outer garments. From nowhere the purest rendition of “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin” ever heard sounded out over Tyneside, the airwaves and millions of TV screens across the nation. No doubt the media blitz undertaken under the watchful instruction of Mike Smith, including local newspaper spreads, multiple Radio 5 Live interviews and lunges on the banks of the Tyne was always supposed to culminate in this moment, with Jonathan Edwards left speechless and full of awe. The BBC TV interview was handled very ably by Mike Smith, rubbishly by Ed Freeman and then beautifully by the whole team breaking into song.
This was followed by an hour of waiting around, a team “vassing and body lotion” session, and a half an hour queue to finally high five one half of Ant and Dec (all in hat order) and cross the start line for the BUPA Great North Run. The Run itself flew by with little problems, no one suffered from hypothermia and everyone got round with various groups coming in at different times with the main pack sticking together, as Myles’ would have liked to see, for the duration. Even more notable was when a man (Terry) fell back, Mike went back to get him and shortened his stride to run the whole distance with him. These two then had their own private interview with Jonathan Edwards after the race claiming a race time of 1 hour 30 mins and questioning the ability of the rest of the group who they stated were kilometres behind and yet to finish!
During the run it was clear that we were the crowd favourites with many shouting out that they had seen us on TV before the Run and clearly loving the fact that we were braving the Geordie elements in just our Speedos. Everyone involved, I think it is fair to say, was elated when we crossed the line and proud of the team achievement.
The day was rounded off with the customary few celebratory drinks for those who had sensibly booked the Monday off work, with others left to rue the missed opportunity whilst cramping up on the train home!
For more information go to http://www.greatnorthrun.org