The Great North Run
There is a distinctive smell in the air today. It is September, and the leaves are turning brown, but this is not the scent of autumn. This is the scent of liniment and sweaty trainers, because it is again time for the Great North Run.
I am not sure if it is the North or the run that is great, but either way it is about to welcome its millionth participant across the finishing line. That means two million sweaty socks and who knows how many blisters have gone into raising a huge amount of money for various charities. That is where the greatest great of the run resides.
So, what is so great about the north?
Apparently, it is the people; a canny bunch of introverts and masters of disguise who secrete themselves away and are almost invisible. The more observant among you may have spotted one or two of them:
Ant & Dec
Brian Johnson from AC/DC
Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits
It is a little-known fact that upon reaching puberty, Geordies have an overwhelming desire to move south and mingle with the rest of the world. They then take elocution lessons in an attempt to disguise their accent and infiltrate the media with the aim of taking over the world. Some manage to keep a low profile, but others get spotted. When Cheryl Cole’s attempt at speaking American came out as Welsh/Glaswegian she was shipped back to Blighty on the next available plane. A notable exception to the rule is Jimmy Nail who has built a career out of being a Geordie, although most of the world thinks he is a classically trained character actor with a natural ability to translate English into Geordinian.
The statistics for the Great North Run are quite remarkable, and none more so than that of nutrition and hydration.
In preparation for the run, athletes are fed enormous quantities of pasta the night before, then handed jelly babies as they go around the course. Medically speaking, this is to stock up on carbohydrates which provide a slow release of energy for the duration of the run with added bursts of sugar as a top up. Socially speaking, it has led to a large percentage of the population thinking that Italian food is generally sporty, and with the association of running in Newcastle it now means that a 24″ pepperoni pizza, large bag of wine gums and a four-pack of Newcastle Brown Ale is seen as a healthy balanced meal.
Why eye pet. Waad yee leik te gissies some money fre not roon’n aroon The Toon mon?
Running around the streets may be one great way to raise money for a charity, but you may prefer to join me and do nothing.
As you will know, I am doing a ‘Sponsored Nothing’ for Mind, the UK mental health charity (see here for an explanation) and you can join me by clicking the button below to make a donation. I would say that it would not involve sweaty socks and smelly trainers, but for all I know you may have them anyway.
Mork and Mind