Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k and more!
If ever there was a day to be a Wallsend Harrier it was this day. Sunday 23rd April 2018. A day to come together in memory of our beloved, much-missed chairman Terry O’Gara. A day to run in green and gold, to support, to cheer, to give it your all and make him proud.
And that’s exactly what we did. On this seventh annual Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k a record 182 runners from across the North East lined up at West Allotment Country Park at 10.30am and completed this favourable course. Half an hour earlier a gallant band of 75 juniors (our best ever turn out) had begun proceedings with the one-mile Fun Run. We had five young green and golds in the top 10 finishers with Logan Haslam clinching first place in 7:05. Fantastic running you guys! Full Fun Run results here.
Many then went onto compete in the Spring Track Relays in Whitley Bay on the same day! Our boys came second in the u13 4×100 relays and our u13 girls and boys also took second place in the mixed 4×200 relay. Luke Pichler won the u11 long jump, Alfie Ward won gold in the discus, silver in the javelin and bronze in the shot and Jadzia Mallam won bronze in the shot put. And in the seniors Paul Corrigan won gold in the shot and discus. What an awesome bunch!
So, back to the TOG run, with the start nicely warmed up it was time for the grown-ups.
With heart-warming, inspiring photos of our Terry displayed at the start, his son Steve calling wonderful words of encouragement and his grandchildren Shay and Isla running their socks off, it was impossible not to strive for anything less than the best you could do. And we were off. An initially sunny morning had been replaced with welcome grey clouds but a cheeky wind, making the half way bend and incline tougher than normal, but this wasn’t enough to deter PB ambitions and there were plenty to celebrate at the end. Our own celebrations included Nina Wilkinson with a 5K PB of 22:08 (she is on a roll!), Kevin Wilson (17:18) and Erin Prior (19:39 and fastest Wallsend female on the day). Simon Lyon was our fastest male in 17:03. And mention must be made to Barry Allsop who was second v60 (20:42). A great time.
Meanwhile, down in the big smoke, our other heroes were running the hottest ever London Marathon – Kris Stobbs and Julie Williams. And our super Sam Charlton was competing with Britain’s best in the 3-mile Mini Marathon. After training in what’s felt like the longest, most brutal winter ever, to go out and finish it in such sweltering conditions is an amazing achievement. But not only did they do that but they ran it in 3hrs20 and 4hr3 respectively and Kris even managed to get down on one knee and propose to the lovely Laura (and then get back up again!!) Massive respect from all of us and huge congratulations to Kris and Laura.
Back to the TOG race. Prize-winners on the day were:
- Sam Hancock (Morpeth) 15:29
- Ellis Hetherington (Blyth) 16:06
- John Clifford V40 (Evenwood) 16:11
- Robyn Bennett (Elswick) 18:07
- Danielle Smythe (Heaton) 18:35
- Gemma Floyd V35 (Morpeth) 18:54
- John Clifford (Evenwood) 16:11
- V50 John Baty (North Shields Poly) 17:34
- V60 Maurice Woodward (Jarrow & Hebburn) 19:46
- V70 Mark McNally (Elswick) 20:44
- Carla Maley (North Shields Poly) 19:12
- V45 Jane Giles (Gateshead) 19:56
- V55 Maggie Lorraine (Gateshead) 21:44
- V65 Pam Woodcock (Morpeth) 25:42
Full results here. More pics on the gallery page.
Another triumphant event. For me it was never going to be about a PB (still on a frustratingly long road to recovery) but it was a much-needed boost and realisation that I’ve still got it in me (thanks to a bit of Terry magic from above). Every year I feel like he’s with me every step of the way. Wallsend Harriers has been like a second family to me and so much of that began with the warmth that Terry showed me on my first evening as a newbie at the club all those years ago. When he ran alongside you it made you feel so special. It was an honour to be in his company.
A special thank-you to the O’Gara family, to the hard-working committee, organisers, marshals, officials, supporters and sponsors: Spud & Lettuce, cafebar one, Shiremoor Dental Practice, Sambuca Tyne Tunnel, Shukran and Sports Injury Clinic Killingworth. And thank-you to all who ran in memory of our Terry.
Here’s to next year. Put it in your diaries now! Sunday 28th April 2019.