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Vicar's Great North Run Success

A Cumbrian vicar has completed the Great North Run raising more than 16 hundred pounds to help fund his daughter’s charity mission to Ethiopia.


Revd Chris Casey, Priest-in-Charge at St Andrew’s Mirehouse, was one of 56,000 runners who took part in last Sunday’s race.

The 13.10 mile course took runners from Newcastle city centre through to South Shields.

Here Chris - who has now completed the race four times - has written a blog for the Diocesan website about his experience......

"The day went really well. The weather forecast for the day never actually materialised; the forecast was for gales and heavy rain - we actually had a shower at about the 6/7 mile point which just cooled us down, so that was a shower of blessing more than anything else. It was windy, but it was behind us and, thankfully, the Red Arrows were still able to do their bit.

56,000 people were down to do the run and I gathered along with them all amidst the remarkable logistical organisation of the team who make this event possible every year. After depositing my bags I made my way into the white zone and sang 'Abide with Me' to recall so many whom we have loved but see no longer, and then we did the warm up - always a fun part of the morning! It's just a matter of time before some excitable runner doing their warm either stamps on your foot or whacks you in the face!

Then the gun fires and the wheelchair event sets off, 5 minutes later the elite ladies take off and then 5 minutes after that it's the BIG one - the men's elite and 'the masses'! Once you see them leave the start line you expect to be moving, instead you are stood still for several more minutes as the thousands ahead move up to the line before stepping out to win their own victories. And then it comes, first you walk, and then a little faster, you break into a jog and then - you're off!! The surge of adrenalin is almost palpable around you and within - this is what you've been training for over all those months!

It is always the case you start off a little too fast, but after a couple of miles you settle into your pace and before you know it you're on that iconic Tyne Bridge and roaring overhead are the Red Arrows, the old chest swells in a moment of patriotism as you gaze upon the red, white and blue smoke streaming away into the distance - this year they also came in from the side too going eastwards.

As you settle into your stride you start seeing all the causes represented around you; the pictures of those who've lost their own battles and those running in an endeavour to make sure others don't have to go the same way. And just when you're lost in thought (and prayer) a banana comes running past you, you look around and suddenly Bag Puss is panting by your side! Ah great joy - all that is so good in people shines forth beneath the dark grey of a pregnant sky - and you smile and take a swig of cold water.

To keep you company on the way are a whole range of different bands - reggae beats help you pace yourself, calypso bands and vigorous drum beat troops help you loosen up and take your attention off of the fatigue growing in your thighs. And then you hear him ... Elvis.. he's alive!! I'm sure he must have moved to the north east or something because this is the only place I ever see him?

The people of Newcastle and South Shields, and everywhere in between, are simply fab! Out they come with their ice lollies, freshly cut oranges, jelly babies and this year even sausage rolls! There was one very decent chap who was even offering a swig of that very fine brown stuff Newcastle is so famous for!

One by one the miles pass, you check your watch and check your progress.. I'm well on target to do this under 2 hours. The rain comes, the rain goes.. keep your head up, keep looking to the horizon... struggle your way through the pack, find a gap, avoid a discarded bottle and pant out a word of thanks to those who've come out to cheer you on regardless of the weather. You notice an incline and take a deep breath, avoid runners who've run out of steam for the moment, conquer the hill and get back onto the flat. You look up and there it is - the North Sea in all its grey glory! Why I Man – you’re nearly home! Legs turn to jelly as you descend the final hill and turn north towards the finishing line. Can I dig deep and find a finishing sprint? Suddenly the crowds thicken, soldiers line the route to welcome you in, the big blue finishing structure rears up before you, and you step over the yellow line: IT IS FINISHED! This always feels like a sacramental moment.

How am I feeling? Pretty good - well I'm still breathing, that's always a good sign; and I did it under 2 hours again (my personal goal) - 1:56:32 - not bad for an oldie!! Get your medal, t-shirt and goodies and then off to find my lovely daughter Liana who'd come along to cheer on the old fella! And then the whiff of those wonderful, and extremely unhealthy, beef burgers lure you away for a carb attack!

Mission accomplished - funds raised £1600+ and personal goal achieved. Thanks to everyone who sponsored me, prayed for me, willed me on - especially on those lonely training days when motivation was low, energy was even less and time scarce. And praise God for the immense display of human goodness I see everytime I run this race.

My medal simply says ‘2013 FINISHER’. It’s good to run the race set before you…. And finish it.

This was probably my last race, the old bones are feeling it a bit - well possibly anyway, well I guess you should never say never......?

Many Blessings - Chris


  • Diocesan Director of Education announces retirement Posted Tuesday 10 September ...