Terry O’Gara 5k 2019 (and the other race that day….)

This was the 8th Terry O’Gara Memorial 5k in honour of the great man, our former chairman and all round legend. It is always such a privilege to have his son Steve join us for this special occasion, to start the race and hand out the prizes in his own, inimitable style (always a highlight) and to see Terry’s grandchildren Shay and Isla run the junior race. He would be so proud of them.

This year we had a record 201 finishers, beating 182 from 2018. The weather was perfect and 28% of our runners got a new 5k pb! It is a cracking, fast course so please do recommend it to friends and fellow runners for next year.

Sixty-three juniors took part in the one mile race, which kick started proceedings.

We had a one, two, three Wallsend finish with Logan (6:47) and Elexa Haslam (7:05) finishing first and second respectively. Hugh Fenwick was third in 7:12. Fantastic running you guys.We were over the moon to crown wor Wallsend lady Danielle Hodgkinson the senior female winner, coming first place in a fantastic 16:45, with a lead of one minute and 15 seconds.

It was an exciting fight for the finish by the men, with our own Jordan battling for first. He put in a a truly inspiring performance but Matthew Linsley of Gateshead Harriers took the crown in an enviable 15:33. There was just one second separating second (Gus Withers of Basildon AC) and third place Conrad Franks (Gateshead Harriers), with Jordan following closely behind them in 15:48.

Full senior results are here.

Junior results are here.

Thank you to all our racers, volunteers and supporters for another amazing event.




Meanwhile our ladies’ and men’s captain Emily James and Simon Lyon were flying the green and gold flag down in London for the world famous marathon. Marathon master Samantha Crooks was also running her first as a Wallsender. Her new found green and gold power sent her across the finish line in a fantastic 3hr28! A PB for Sam and we’re all super proud to have on our team.

This was our captain Simon’s first marathon and of course he approached it with the same determination and enthusiasm as he does his captaincy duties, nailing it in a phenomenal 3hrs03! Judging by the smile on his face (captured on national TV) it’s safe to say he is a reformed skeptic and I’d put money on him already having signed up for next year!

Having taken on the challenge as a non Harrier 11 years ago (pre kids too) I vowed never to do it again. But (like childbirth) the memories of pain began to fog and with new found wisdom, strength and a cause close to my heart I decided maybe, just maybe I could take on the challenge again and this time, do it properly.

To be honest, the day itself didn’t seem like the hard bit. It was getting there that was. Hours of relentless running in all winds and weathers, my mind constantly preoccupied with how and when I was going to fit it all in with two kids, a job and a husband away, what I needed to eat/drink to stop my body going into shutdown (like it did the second I crossed the finish line all those years ago)? But this time I was blessed with a Harrier family full of advice, tips, support and most importantly ‘turbo flapjack’ (god bless you Keith O’Donnell).

It was hard but this time I was determined to take it all in. So I soaked it all up and smiled and cried at all the amazing feats of courage around me. What an incredible day. If you do just one marathon in your lifetime I urge you to do London. The atmosphere is out of this world. Simon, Sam and I were buzzing for at least a week afterwards. I’m so glad I did it again. I said it would be my second and my last but having knocked almost half an hour off the last one 11 years on (3hrs55 my time this year), I might just wait another decade and see if I can get sub 3hr30!

Emily James