What I failed to include in my entry ‘Great North Run 2008 – Great Fundraiser!’ is my sincerest thanks to Richard. Why? I will tell you a story so shocking that even Santa Claus will be revising his ‘naughty & nice’ list after reading this entry.

Once upon a time … there were three female members in our family. To keep their identities secret from Santa Claus, we will only refer to them as Anita, Angie, & Leija.

Well these three anonymous ladies were to be part of the JJ’s Supporters Club … moral support for the start, and nursing support at the end of the Great North Run! Not very unreasonable … until they found out that we would be leaving at 7:30am on Sunday morning to get to Newcastle. 7:30am on Sunday morning! Their faces went pale. That translated into having to get up at 6:00am – 6:30am to get ready on time.

Now women’s logic kicks in with the first in a series of statements. “Well is it necessary for all of us to be at the start? I mean that it will be too busy to park and watch the start, so basically we will be just dropping you off. Therefore, Richard can take you up to Newcastle at 7:30am and we will follow a bit later and see you at the finish.”

Now to calculate when JJ will cross the finish line, so they can be there to see the hero cross the line. Right … logic statement No.2 … “Run starts at 10:40am … JJ is in Zone G … so another 20 minutes for him to start … expected running time … 2 and bit hours … so around 1:15pm … ish … in South Shields. Right, lets go to the MetroCentre shopping centre in Newcastle and play it by ear.”

So the ladies finally leave at 9:30am (well that is what they told me) and go to the MetroCentre. Must have arrived around 11:30am with Anita’s driving, so a healthy amount of time before going to South Shields. In the meantime, faithful Richard is trekking over to South Shields, navigating through all the road closures for the run, amongst the other supporters of the 52,000 participants.

At around 1:00pm, the Great Run message service sends out 3 text messages that I have finished the run. One finds Richard’s phone, conveniently located in South Shields … the other two text messages manage to penetrate deep into the bowels of the MetroCentre, not quite located in South Shields.

So there are Richard and JJ in South Shields, perfectly in time to see the spectacular display of the Red Arrows. The pictures in my previous entry barely do them justice. I pity anyone who did not get to see them (hint hint … say no more).

Now we have a slight logistical issue. Getting to South Shields is now basically impossible and parking is one step further than impossible if you did not have a 4×4 vehicle. The fact that Richard parked a 30% incline demonstrated that. Logic statement No.3 is now triggered … “Since we are too late to get to South Shields and it would be mad to try, why don’t you guys wiggle out of there and meet up with us at the MetroCentre? We can wait for you here.” So it was agreed to let the ladies suffer a little longer in the shopping centre.

Getting out of South Shields was impossible. All the cars/roads were gridlocked. Only if you were armed with the following three things, there was hope:

  • A navigation system highlighting roads not suitable for cars.
  • A 4×4 vehicle.
  • Richard behind the steering wheel.

All I can say is that we saw parts of England that the locals never knew existed. At one point, a Vauxhall Corsa followed us, but we never saw it again. I can only assume the enormous muddy potholes swallowed it up.

I may have survived the run, but Richard was really the ‘Man of the Day’. Thanks Richard!!!

As the sun was setting, Anita, Angie, Leija, and JJ headed back home (Richard stayed in Newcastle in case anyone was wondering) and promptly joined the traffic jam stretching the length of England with 51,999 other runners trying to get home! By this point, I was too knackered and fell asleep, so I did not suffer the long journey home. wink

Love JJ xxx

When I stepped off the plane on Saturday at Leeds Bradford airport, I was welcomed by a bitterly cold wet Yorkshire autumn wind. It was so cold, I noticed Eskimos heading south for the winter on the next Jet2 flight! It was a horrifying moment of realisation that I would only be wearing my running gear for the Great North Run in this weather. Ok … I know that it is a horrifying moment of realisation for anyone trying to picture me in my running gear, but nevertheless have some sympathy!

Fortunately on Sunday, whilst it remained cold and wet in Holland and the South of England, the hills of North England basked under the sun and the beautiful clear blue sky! The runners were escorted by the magnificent ‘Red Arrows’, who flew overhead and provided amazing breathtaking displays at the end.

GNR_2008_001 GNR_2008_002

All in all … the Great North Run remains an amazing event with 52,000 runners appearing as an endless human carpet from Newcastle to South Shields.


And with a time of 02:05:21 hours, awarding me the place of 16,064th, I am really enjoyed my last Great North Run … wait a minute … I still did not beat Richard’s time. Bugger!


Next year is all about beating Richard … bring on 2009!

It was a grand day indeed! A good day to break my 54:47 minute record from last year, with the wonderful support of my family again, with two new supporters! Barbara & my little boy! Well … Barbara was there because she knew that Meadowhall would immediately follow the run. Anyway …

There beside me, to help me look like to can run fast, Gabby! Actually, the photo makes it look like she is holding me up, but that is due to Richard’s poor photography skills … get a Canon like everyone else!


With Anita, Angie, Richard, Barbara & Nathan joining the masses to get us started on the run, I was well motivated to get a good time … if not for the simple pleasure of limiting their time in Starbucks!

Well, I crossed the finish line in a new record of 52:02 minutes, with sufficent time to walk to Starbucks just in time to see my supporting party (missing at the finishing line) emerge from their sinning!

Aye they are a right bunch, but I love them. Next year I will sign-up the whole lot of them! Plus I will have my eye on breaking the 50:00 minute mark!

Anita, Angie, Richard, & Gabs … thanks again for the memorable day!

Hannah & Tala … you really missed out!

Love JJ xxx

\The Great North Run (21.1km) is just 3 months away, with the Great Yorkshire Run (10km) being just 2 months from now! The Naarden Vesting Run (14.5km) in May helped prove that I am still able to run further than the end of my driveway!

Hannah has opted to move to the other side of the planet to escape this punishment. Talla has opted to do work rather than run along side me. Gabby … what can I say? What a girl! Faithful, trustworthy Gabby is still in the running with me for the Great Yorkshire Run! Bless her! wink

This week I am starting with my campaign to diet & exercise to reverse the damage of Florida! I am also starting my fundraising campaign:


I would really appreciate it if the family would give me a good start … please share this link with your friends too to help me raise money for the ‘Brain & Spine Foundation’.


I think that they will start off slow, and then get slower!!!


Does not look like there is much hope for Hannah, Talla, & Gabby. Whilst the left side of the picture above shows how JJ will look this September, I am concerned that the right side shows the three girls in the midst of their training … sustained by liquid diets!

Mind you … it may look impressive to run with three drunken belly dancers! wink

New Year’s resolution 1 is half completed. I am signed up for the Great Yorkshire Run and Great North Run this year. Hannah, Talla, & Gabby should also be warming up to the fact that they too are participating in the Great Yorkshire Run. Barbara is entering the Great Meadowhall Run, which by coincidence follows immediately after the Great Yorkshire Run. So Sunday 7th September should be a very eventful day and a great family outing! I am very much looking forward to it, despite the painful aspect of having to get back into shape (i.e being less of a blob)!

News of us entering has spread quickly, even I am on the TV … click here to view.

Oh yes … girls … remember to get a decent iPod for running. I am afraid that mine (see below) is a bit too cumbersome! wink


It was a grand sunny day indeed! Originally, I was nervous about the run as I wanted to set a good recorded time (sub-55 minutes). However, with Anita, Angie, Richard, & Gabs to escort me to the run and prove cheering support at the start, as well as when I crossed the finish line, made this run more memorable than any of my previous runs.

I am truly grateful for their motivation that helped me achieve the sub-55 minute timing (just) … less for the reason that they wanted me to do well and more for the fact that every minute was coming out of their shopping time in Meadowhall! Well, they certainly let me walk off the run long enough in Meadowhall.


It was so great to have the family involved in such an occasion, that I hope that next year more members of the family sign-up, so that we can run together and break my 54:47 minute record!

Anita, Angie, Richard, & Gabs … thanks for the memorable weekend!

Love JJ xxx