It was in the early days of the Great North Run and they didn’t have health and safety back then, never mind a junior run.
My Dad (who ran with the now defunct Gateshead Congas back in the day) just dropped me on the motorway by Claremont Road and said “Right, you start there. I’m going nearer the front. I’ll see you at the end”.
I’ve still got the t-shirt but it’s a bit skinny fit these days.
20 years later I decided to give it another go to see if I could beat my time. Jacqui watched that one on TV and we thought we’d both have a go the next time. Suddenly, we were runners.
A few more Great North Runs later and we had added a couple of other runs to our racing calendar (such as the Pier to Pier and Blaydon race) before Jacqui joined Saltwell Harriers on the recommendation of her friend, Annie Perez. She loved it so much she said I should join too and she’s the boss, so I did.
I’ve been with Saltwell just over three years now and achieved all the PBs I aimed for thanks to the training with the Hoops. Currently, I do all the apparel for the club and my proudest moment isn’t getting a sub-four marathon or any other time I’ve done but looking around after a race and seeing all the squad, dozens of them, sitting around in hoodies emblazoned with Saltwell Harriers and thinking ‘I did that. Everyone can see who we are now’.
We are Saltwell. We are family.
PBs are beyond me now due to injuries so I intend to give something back to the club by turning my hand to coaching and I’m taking my LIRF course in February as the first stage of that.
Running is a huge part of my life and Saltwell is a huge part of that. Long may it continue.