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Lad attempts Greggs marathon walking to 32 stores around Newcastle in a day

Lad attempts Greggs marathon walking to 32 stores around Newcastle in a day

Completing a marathon is one thing. Completing a marathon and eating 32 Greggs is another.

There were lots of questions when I said I was going to attempt a Greggs marathon: Why? Is that a thing? Don’t you have anything better to do?

And to these questions I simply responded: “Because greatness is earned, not given.”

With that, I headed to Newcastle, where the nation’s favourite bakery was first founded more than 80 years ago. Before embarking on this quest, I contacted Greggs for the official number of shops in the city and they sent back a list of 61.

I started where Greggs started.

Getting all 61 done on foot within opening hours was never going to be possible.

Instead, I decided to plot a marathon distance route of stores in and around the city centre: 28 miles, 32 Greggs, one day.

I thought it would be fitting to start out on Gosforth High Street, where the very first store opened, and soon enough I was striding to shop two with sausage bap/barm/teacake/batch/cob/sarnie in hand.

A decent start before the spiral

The first stage of the marathon got off to a solid start. By 9.30am I had covered seven miles and reached Greggs number six, where I picked up a sausage, cheese and bean melt.

At this point the food was going down OK. However, I couldn’t allow myself to think about the fact that I was six down, 26 to go. I’d fold right there and then.

Destination: greatness.

The first hurdle of many

I hit my first – but not my last – wall at Greggs number nine, which I think was in Walker, to the east of the city. I’d walked 12.5 miles at this point and I feared a blister was coming through on my big toe, which was not a good omen to say I wasn’t even at the halfway point.

I was spiralling. I reminded myself I could only take it one Greggs at time. I bit the head off my gingerbread man. I headed towards number 10.

Hitting a wall in Walker.

My dozenth Greggs felt significant. We’d reached the halfway point in mileage, but in reality the challenge was only just beginning.

The real test begins

At the beautiful quayside, it felt right that I had a sausage roll – the most iconic Greggs item in the most iconic part of toon. It was now 1.30pm and I was 16 miles in, but there were still 19 Greggs to go.

I felt that strange mix of excitement and fear you might get before a job interview, or going for a poo in a public toilet that doesn’t have a properly functioning lock.

The best photo opp of the quest.

In truth, this part is a bit of a blur. The usual staples of bakes and sausage rolls were catching up with me, and whereas previously I’d worked up an appetite by the time I’d reached the next Greggs, I was now putting away 400 calories every five minutes.

Something new for the tastebuds

I had to start exploring fringe menu items that I would normally overlook.

Mince pies were good ‘cause they were small, same goes for the muffins they presumably make for children, not Greggs Marathoners.

I didn't enjoy the fruit pot.

I reached the train station at 4.00pm. In the past two-and-a-half hours 10 primarily brown Greggs items had gone down the hatch. At this point, I deliberated throwing in the towel.

I’d managed 23 Greggs and 20 miles. I was exactly where I needed to be (the train station). My feet and mouth hurt. Why not pat myself on the back and hop on the next train home? ... Well, what’s that old saying about greatness?

The worst is about to come

The final phase was going to be brutal.

I was now marching out into the sticks, away from the hustle and bustle of the city – and away from my train home.

Greggs 25 closed at 4.30pm and I had to get a serious mooch on to make it there by 4.25pm - but the worst was yet to come.

Unlike the chaos of the city centre, these Greggs were also getting sparse. It dawned on me that I was going to have to actually run if I was going to have a chance of making it to Greggs 30 on time.

The Greggs marathon wasn't supposed to involve running.

My legs were stiff, my stomach was more than a touch bloated. As I ran, it felt like my torso was a tumble dryer filled with bricks/Greggs.

I made it to Greggs 29 at 5.45pm and had 15 minutes to get to the front of a painfully slow queue, purchase more spicy barbecue chicken bites, run up a big ole hill, and order whatever the hell they had left at Greggs 30.

The dream nearly dies

As I reached the top of the hill, I scanned frantically for the all too familiar oranges squares that I was practically seeing with every blink at this point.

I spotted a petrol station and darted inside, and there it was: Greggs - closed.

I looked at my watch: 5:59pm. What was this Greggs Marathon injustice?

“It closes at five,” a voice from behind the petrol station till called over. I looked at the online opening hours: 6.00pm. I showed the petrol till lady, and she confirmed that it in fact closes at 5.00pm.

I felt wronged, cheated, and tired. The woman from the petrol till peered out of the window at me, sat on the kerb with my head in my hands, broken. She must have thought that I really, really wanted a sausage roll.

The heartbreak bake.

After a good bit of wallowing, I concluded the Greggs marathon was not over. Sure, the dream of eating at 32 Greggs in a day was dead, but I was just two Greggs away from completing the whole damn thing.

The light at the end of the tunnel

I picked up my first pizza slice of the day at Greggs 31 and trudged triumphantly about 500 metres to the final Greggs. It glowed like the gates of heaven on the horizon, and I strode through the pearly Greggs gates with glee.

It felt only right to finish with a sausage roll, and unbelievably the woman behind the till offered me a loyalty card. Too. F*cking. Right.

I bit into my final pastry of this monumental day, and you know what? It tasted good.

I looked at my watch: 12 hours 49 minutes, 27.93 miles, greatness unlocked (it didn’t say that last bit, I did).

Maybe now, at long last, my mum would be proud of me.

Featured Image Credit: LADbible

Topics: Food And Drink, Greggs, Weird