Well I can honestly say with hand on heart I never would’ve dreamed of doing this event as it wasn’t on my event calendar period. My return to doing endurance events had been something I didn’t want to overdo ( life never goes to plan ).
Being brutally honest I would never have put a half marathon on my calendar it’s a personal thing. My phone pinged a notification in messenger from a good friend and tremendous athlete John Hunter. I’m up your neck of the woods on the 12th of May for the Sunderland Half Marathon if you fancy it?
Straight away I knew it was the week before my first event back at Paras’10 Colchester. John said he understood if it was too close for me and being a bit unplanned and all. I explained to my wife I had to do this as I owe the man so much for all his support in the past. We share a unique bond after all plus a mutual respect for one and other so why not!
I notified John to say I had registered and would gladly be joining him at the Start Line. Quick as a flash he replied you fancy doing it with weight ( Daysack 35lbs ) ? Spraying my coffee in laughter as I should’ve really expected it in all truth as that’s what he does.
What a day for it the weather gods were on form as the sun was shining on the righteous once more. A guy coming to support his wife asked if he could lift Johns daysack and then asked why do it? It’s just a test John replies it’s never easy that’s why. After about 10 mins at the race village with me arsing about with my race number we were good to go.
The obligatory live video and selfie with John then it was a go the horn sounded. Have to admit I was envious of Johns combat shorts as I was melting in my trousers ( sneaky bugger ). 5 miles in the bag and our time was good I shouldn’t even been thinking of a time I laughed to myself.
When the gentleman we were talking too asked what time we were looking for – John quick as a flash sub 2hrs eh Billy?! I can honestly say I wasn’t after a time just repaying a favour, but being in Johns company is sometimes magical if not a little crazy! It was red hot by now and I was pouring the water over my baldy “napper”.
The marshals and support were amazing and some good craic with fellow competitors too all before halfway point. John and myself both agreed this was a cracking Half Marathon by this time, funny we reminisced about Kielder Marathon run by the same Company.
We got the usual banter is that pillows in your bags lads or cotton wool as we went past – me no it’s marshmallows. I told John there’s no way I could’ve done it with boots as it was all road. As we’re both getting a little balder and wiser too ( supposedly ) it’s just too much stress on our body’s.
Some fun moments it has to be said even though by mile 10 my right knee was starting to protest a little. Millie Johns daughter had phoned so we had a good talk about technology and face timing of all things. John told me he picked Sunderland because his parents are from the area originally. Even I was seeing new bits of Sunderland after living in the North for 14 years.
By 12 mile both of us were starting to feel the affects of the heat and weight our pace had slowed but I knew we’d make it. My back was in a rag with friction burns of the daysack not so much fun now eh dickhead I was telling myself. That said I picked up the pace the best I could muster as I wanted the weight off. We mustered a sprint finish to complete in under the 2 hrs target time. Still life in us old dogs yet John said with a smile.
It was rather humbling for a Padre from Catterick Garrison asking us both if we’d get our photos taken with him – we gladly said yes. We even managed to get interviewed at the end by a lovely young lady in the race village. I was creased remembering the last time John was interviewed before Tabbing Kielder – my PA role I quickly reminded him hahaha..
Would I recommend Siglion Sunderland Half Marathon? Yes without a doubt both great support amazing race marshals and a cheeky route too verdict 8-10.
I can only promote events I have personally completed and enjoyed. Please find links below:
#fitnessmomentum45 #fitnesshacking #sunderland #halfmarathon