Great North Run – Completed it mate

Great North Run – Completed it mate

Lying on the floor after the finish line in South Shields.

Where do I start? What a day, what an event. My first ever Great North Run and I can’t say for certain it won’t be the last.

I managed to get to the start line well before I needed to so got into the pen early and sat down to relax and enjoying the weather, the music and the atmosphere that was building. I stood up around 30 minutes before the start to take in the warm up which was great. You really feel the atmosphere building as the start gets closer.

As the run started it took some 35 minutes to cross the start line but once I got underway I tried to settle into a nice pace early and not run overly fast. I hadn’t really though about the run itself in the lead up when training only the distances I was running and you head down toward the Tyne Bridge the Great North Run really does become a reality. The people, the atmosphere, the music and all of the runners really create something special as you cross into Gateshead. That said, once you pass the Tyne Bridge and head up toward Gateshead Stadium the realisation of event hits you (“only 9 miles to go…’).

I settled into a nice rhythm at this point and the miles (km on my watch) mounted up, seeing some friendly faces along the way 🙂 and being passed some ever helpful energy gels for later (Thank you Jon and Victoria 🙂 ).

As I hit the start of John Reid road I decided to take a strategical break which turned out to be a bad decision. I slowed, took on more fluids, walked through a shower, checked my phone then passed a young lad with a hose which looked nice a cool but drenched me as I passed, the lad next to me actually said “that was very nice but very wrong at the same time”. Once I got passed everything I got back up to pace but around a mile later (at around 10 miles) everyone had to slow and stop and head to one side as a runner was attended to by paramedics (I hope they and the other runner who received medical treatment are ok).

I got going again after a delay and then had to pop for a toilet stop and never really got going ahead up towards the top of John Reid road. My legs didn’t feel like running and I must have walked what felt like about a mile, taking in showers, hose pipes and soaking myself with cold bottled water from the feed stations to keep cool and hydrated. I took on a couple of energy gels and some fluid (SIS Electrolyte) then set off again for the last mile and a half.

As I turned on to the seafront for the final mile by legs felt great, the cheering and support along the sea front really does get you home. I felt I could have ran another mile at the end which was strange considering the struggle from miles 10-12 but all in all crossing the line was an amazing feeling. I’d never ran 13 miles before let along at an event like this. I’d only done 10 miles once the week prior and that showed towards the end.

A walk through the finishers area to collect my medal, goodie bag and some more water makes you appreciate the effort you have put in when you see others who have finished the run walking along side you as you leave the area to meet up with loved ones.

The best feeling after finishing was meeting back up with my wife and children (and losing my medal to the eldest haha).

Below is a recap of the run along with some photos.

The Great North Run is not so much about the run itself but the event as a whole. The struggles I faced from miles 10-12 would have been all the more difficult without those words of encouragement from the side of the road, you hear your name called more when you walk compared to when you run and the offers of sweets, beer, water, ice pops or chocolate certainly do help.

I’d trained and worked up to 10 miles running 10 miles once before the run and that certainly showed in the times. I struggled between miles 10-12 but looking back that was one of the area’s I enjoyed and soaked up the atmosphere more than any other part of the run.

I’m no runner, nor will I ever be but I’d encourage anyone to do it as the experience and the sense of accomplishment at the finish line is something that will live with you forever.

I’ve done the run this year for Mind and one of the best feelings after is that the run has raised money that will be a great help to them and whilst my time wasn’t as quick as I had hoped time’s don’t really make a different on Great North Run day, its about enjoying it, soaking up the atmosphere and making as much money for charity as possible.

My sponsorship page is still open if anyone would like to sponsor me.

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If I was to do it again I think I may need to do more than 7/8 weeks ‘proper’ training but we will see. There is definitely more time in the legs as I’m not hurting as much as I expected today. Let’s see what the next one brings 🙂 .