It is an event like no other and it was an honour and a privilege to join 57,000 other runners at the Great North Run last weekend.

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Running with the wholehearted…

If ever one needed once’s faith in human nature reaffirmed, the GNR does it. Nearly every runner, whether professional or complete amateur, was running for their personal cause.

They will have spent long hours training, surmounted the challenge of actually getting to the start in the right pen before the gates close (and that in itself is a significant logistical feat), and then run the 13.1 miles in the heat and humidity from Newcastle to the finish at South Shields – and then get home through the crowds and traffic.

All this in aid of thousands of charities and causes providing help across the full philanthropic spectrum. It was indeed deeply moving and inspiring to be running with the truly wholehearted.

…in a race like no other…

As for the race itself, I am satisfied that I completed the course without mishap, even if it did take me two hours and fifty minutes, somewhat longer than my two hours thirteen minutes in 2012. I admit it was a struggle, especially the climb into South Shields at miles ten and eleven. I have to thank the steel and other bands stationed under bridges or on roundabouts that chucked out a merciless running beat, the encouragement of fellow runners and, not least, the the wonderful crowd who didn’t stop showering us with praise, encouragement, water, jelly beans and oranges. If you going to attempt a challenge of some kind, do it in front of a Geordie crowd!

It was also a privilege to be running in the same race as a number of the world’s greatest athletes, not least the amazing Mo Farah, whose huge applause from the field and spectators when introduced at the start of the race almost blew him to the finish before he started.

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…for healing, peace and joy.

As you will know from my earlier post, I am raising money to help send those who are sick or with disability on a pilgrimage to Lourdes next year with the Ampleforth Pilgrimage. This costs around £750 and is out of reach to many pilgrims for whom the week is probably the most important week of their lives. The money I raise will help someone enjoy a week of spirituality, healing and joy which they would not otherwise be able to get to.

So far I have raised £500 with tax relief and it would be fabulous to get the the remaining £250. Please be generous for a worthy cause. You can donate through my JustGiving page, or by clicking on the link left.

Thank you for your support.