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I did it!

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Helen Blaby Helen Blaby | 17:10 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

Helen Blaby at the Great North Run finish

There is not even one small part of me that doesn't hurt today and, according to Andy Roberts, my physio, everything is going to hurt even more tomorrow. You know what, though? I don't actually care. The sense of achievement is huge, and I'm feeling a teensy bit smug about it all.

I did the Great North Run!

Even though I did walk most of it, and it took me the same time that it takes slow coaches to do a marathon, I did it and I have a medal to prove it.

What a great day it was, too. We arrived on the start line at just before 9am and it was absolutely freezing. The 5 live team stood around moaning about how cold it was, and how it was going to be slightly miserable if it stayed that cold. I had to wander away for a while to do a television interview with Jonathan Edwards and then met up with the three lovely ladies who were going to chaperone me around the course. Being a slow coach, and starting at the front is a slightly scary thing with all the barging and pushing that goes on but Sue, Christine and Sarah stood round me like minders and we were well on the way.

The sun came out just before the gun went, and I did manage to jog the first 500 yards or so before settling in to a fairly even pace. I could not stop smiling. The atmosphere surrounding the Great North Run is like nothing you'll ever experience. 54,000 runners being cheered on by probably just as many spectators, it was completely unbelievable.

We'd just seen the Red Arrows fly overhead when I heard a shout of "Blabers" and there, standing on the central reservation was my friend Sue's husband, Richard. I shot across the carriageway (with apologies to the lady I bumped in to) grabbed a hug from him and carried on. About 20 minutes later, having been grabbed for a hug by Sue as she ran past me, I got a text from Richard saying I was doing ok because there were still thousands of people behind me.

Most of those thousands ran past me, it has to be said, and I did nearly pull out at 8 miles when my right leg cramped up more than I ever thought possible. At 11 miles I nearly pulled out again, but some quick emotional blackmail from one of my companions and we were on our way again!

On to South Shields seafront, and I could see the 'mile to go' marker in front of me and also Kate Williams and Sue Dougan running towards me to help me make it to the finish. I'm not ashamed to say I cried my eyes out when we got there. It had been physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. I have blisters the size of Wales, I am walking not unlike a sunburnt monkey, but I've raised nearly £2000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK and that's all that ultimately matters.

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