The Team Blind Dave bus was back on the road, this time heading 90 miles down the M5 to Bristol, arriving in the city about 7pm as it was coming to life with Saturday night revellers and what appeared to be numerous hen nights!
Colourful descriptions followed from the lads as we left the party-goers behind and passed through the city looking for somewhere to park. Shortly after we found a quiet road, alongside the river and below a flyover which turned out to be the perfect spot. Kettle on, microwave tea on plates, kit prepared for the morning and we relaxed into the night.
The flyover, it seems, didn’t interrupt any of our sleep. We were gently woken around 6.30am to a few voices which we found out belonged to some marshals preparing for the run. Nicely refreshed after a decent night, fuelled up with a good breakfast and kit on we headed out. We had only walked to the top of the road and hey presto, to our surprise there was the start for the Simplyhealth Great Bristol 10k in front of us.
The PA system was in full flight, with many people milling around already. We met up with the Great Run Team who make life very easy for us getting to the start line. Once again we had the opportunity of PR, much appreciated as it all helps with advertising the Great Run challenge. After photos with the Lord Mayor of Bristol and interviews with both the Great Run Team and Made in Birmingham TV, we bumped into our newly found friend from Bonnie Scotland, Jay. Another blind runner who runs in his variety of kilts, today he tells me it’s a red one!
With Team Blind Dave again being given a head start and a great shout out we were off, leaders of the pack. What was also great, after talking with Nicola, I had asked if it were at all possible to have our running numbers throughout the series to correspond with our ages. So with it being my 60th year (I have to own up to it now!) I got the number 1957, Tony got 1967 (he had only celebrated turning 50 on the 4th May), with the baby of the group Garry sporting number 1969. How cool this would be if we could get these numbers for the remainder of the Great Runs!
The crowds were out at the start, the fresh morning air just right for a run and in around 15 minutes thousands more runners would be chasing us down. The course was relatively flat, certainly a course for a PB, the lads once again giving me the running commentary. As we approached the suspension bridge, Tony explained we were passing between flat rock faces, higher than a block of flats, the bridge up ahead with a hot air balloon in the distance still moored on the ground. This, we soon found out marked the point where we turned and doubled back to the finish. Coming back down the other side of the road, I’m told Jay was running, kilt and all, so we gave him a shout. It seemed like only minutes we were hitting the 8k marker, where we were caught up by the elite boys and girls. Not too many in fairness, I’m told around 30 runners actually passed us before we crossed the finish line in 48 minutes, a time I was very happy.
A quick finish line interview with Made in Birmingham in the can as plenty of runners started to cross the line with the finish area turning into a normal hive of industry. The sun came out, supporters and runners converged on the event village, the normal chatter of PBs and tales of the run going on around us, making for a fantastic atmosphere.
Little more than an hour after leaving the mobile home, we were making our way back through the crowds to our temporary home. A quick change into comfortable clothes, a right turn at the top of the road and within 15 minutes we were back on the M5 and homeward bound.
With run number 7 now complete, the Scottish Stirling Marathon is fixed firmly in our sights.
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Read more about Blind Dave Heeley's challenge here