It doesn’t happen very often, but now and again you get moments that make you feel truly alive.
This epiphany came a mile or so into Sunday’s Great North Run from Newcastle to South Shields when my good lady wife came hurtling alongside me just before the Tyne Bridge, screaming like a banshee while waving a camera in one hand and punching the air with the other.
That tends to give you a boost. But the cherry on the icing on the cake was daughters #1 and #2 waving their homemade ‘Go Dad’ banner, gamely trying to keep up while grinning their heads off and shouting.
They say in moments of mortal danger your life flashes before your eyes, well if that isn’t on my greatest hits showreel before I cash in my chips then I’ll be asking for a refund.
Without wishing to state the obvious, 13.1 miles is a long way. It’s a long way on a bike, never mind on foot. But runners on that journey get to see sights that non-runners don’t.
For instance, before the start I was with two young lads dressed as Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed, stripped to the waist complete with boxing gloves, trunks, appropriate facial hair, spray tans and wigs.
Needless to say lots of smiling young ladies were very keen to have their picture taken with them.
A bit further on I ran past an exhausted looking man with a Smeg fridge on his back and then some game chap carrying a kitchen sink.
But a mile or two before that something happened which summed up the spirit of the Great North Run.
An old lady was waiting for a bus, don’t know why because the roads were closed off for most of the day, and as she got fed up waiting she missed her step off the curb and faceplanted in slow motion onto the road.
Of course, I do what I always do when I see someone falling over in the street. I shout ‘Penalty!’ at the top of my voice.
But then I was faced with a moral dilemma.
I’d got into my stride and was making good time but me and a lady runner sprinted over and helped her to her feet.
Thankfully only her pride was wounded.
Anyway, apart from that there’s not much to report. Running around the North East in howling wind and driving rain sounds worse than it is.
And it’s lovely when you stop at the end.