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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Rob's Great North Run
Great North run: runners cross the Tyne Bridge
Breakfast's Rob Bonnet was among the thousands who took part
Sunday's Great North Run was a family affair for Breakfast's Rob Bonnet. He ran the half marathon with his two daughters, 21 year old Ellie and first-timer Clare. Read Rob's own account of how it all went:


Off went the gun and the first 200 or so of the 49,000 at the start of the Great North Run shot off down Newcastle's Central motorway towards the Tyne Bridge - me among them.

Frankly, I was a shambles.

I'd decided to carry my mobile phone with a headset attached to listen to the local radio commentary, then discarded it for being too anti-social for my running companions - daughters Clare and Eleanor plus my pace-maker Ken - but then tried to lash it up again at the last moment, along with its stopwatch.

I was still fumbling when the gun went off I pressed the wrong button for the stopwatch - and the radio reception was poor. Great plan, hopeless execution!

Going downhill fast

I'd set myself a target of one mile every 8.45 minutes in order to come in fairly comfortably under two hours and the opening downhill stretches allowed an even faster pace, so after three miles I probably had about 4 minutes in hand.

But too fast...too reckless! After six miles the early pace had taken its toll. Sally Gunnell stopped me briefly for roadside TV interview. Is that it?" I asked her. "Have I finished?" I was only half joking.

Three miles later another interview. By now my legs were leaden.

This time the rest was longer and even more welcome than before. And all the time, runners were passing me in their hundreds.

In the final stages, I did overtake one or two people. But they were walking!

Rob Bonnet
Rob: an unforgettable experience

But where were my girls?

Suddenly with about two miles to go, I spotted Ellie on the other side of the road.

The photo-opportunity where photographers take snaps of everyone in the race (imagine that!) was just at the top of the hill.

We passed underneath their gantry side by side- it should make a great souvenir.

But Ellie's 21 year old legs were too strong for me in the closing stages and she went on to finish some thirty seconds ahead of my 2 hours 4 minutes, another two minutes slower than last year.

Perhaps my training schedule hadn't been quite so well constructed as I thought?!

Clare, meanwhile, came home in about 2 hours 15 mins - a really good performance for a first-timer whose training opportunities had been limited.

It was a great family occasion - and I don't just mean the Bonnet Challenge. As always the entire Geordie Family - in the race and on the roadside - made it an unforgettable experience.

BBC Breakfast




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