There are many things that I find frustrating about the Great North Run. It’s expensive, over commercialised and mainly ran on dual carriageways. There are too many people and the t-shirts are cheap. But the moment I hear the gun, and the opening bars of Local Hero come from the speakers, all frustrations are forgotten.
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There was a moment of joy, in amongst it all. One of those moments where your lungs seem to find an unlimited capacity and your legs float along, leaping over rocks like a mountain goat. There was a moment of joy, but there’s far more to my experiences at the weekend than that.
There are few things as exhilarating as pushing yourself to your limits. As T.S Eliot wrote, “if you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
There’s a little section on the club website that says to try to limit yourself to one important race or PB attempt in any four week period. I couldn’t help but think of it while I flagrantly ignored it on my drive to Silksworth for the Sunderland 5k.
There are a few basic elements of a good narrative — you have a character, some conflict or adversity, and then a resolution. The thing that keeps us reading, watching or listening is the tension between those things.