I just want to start by saying that I most definitely wouldn’t call myself a distance runner! In school, I was the one who ran 100m religiously and struggled to get round the 400m track. However, for the past few years I’ve given it a go and managed to run a few 10k races and The Great South run (10 miles).So at the beginning of 2016 I set myself the challenge to try more new things this year and signed up for The Great North Run in September!
57,000 runners took part in The Great North Run; the biggest half marathon in the world! So, when we were given a start time of 10.40am, we didn’t get through that start until 11.20am due to masses of people. The atmosphere at the start was electric, people dancing and laughing about with one another!
The atmosphere was incredible.
The first 3 miles were hard! As there were so many people it was very congested so running steadily was quite hard and getting into a good pace was near enough impossible.
Running over the Tyne Bridge was amazing! People were cheering whilst running and there were spectators everywhere.
The race itself wasn’t as bad as I’d expected and I got into a good steady rhythm despite my knee being in pain throughout. Usually I run with music, however, the atmosphere was so amazing that I didn’t need any at all and managed to get through the whole race without it due to the continuous ongoing support. There were bands dotted along the course which played rock music, steel drums and apparently there was also an Elvis impersonator.
I saw several crazy and enthusiastic runners, one guy ran with a fridge on his back, one with a wheelie bin, some army runners carrying wheelchairs on their shoulders! My personal favourite was the man who ran in an inflatable dinosaur costume.
At about mile 11 I started to get cramp so I started to take it a bit steadier and save the little bit of energy I had left for the final stretch. Toward the end the support was phenomenal! The final mile is along the coast in South Shields and people come out in their thousands to give support. Families were handing out oranges and jelly babies to the runners and shouting the names they could see on our race numbers. A fellow runner dressed as superman shouted some words of support at me and got me running as fast as I possibly could for the final 800m.
At the end of the race,I went to go find my mum and Shelly, who had also ran but had already finished. We headed to the charity area as we had run the race for a charity very close to us – The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. When we reached their tent we were welcomed in, congratulated, given lunch and had a complimentary massage which did wonders for my recovery.
After heading home and having a well-needed and deserved pizza, along with some lovely refreshments courtesy of Savse Smoothies, I slept like a baby and headed home the next day for whatever my next challenge may be.
Tips I’d pass on from my first half marathon
- Energy gels work wonders! Test them out when training though as some people don’t get along with them. My favourites are the SiS Pink Grapefruit and Berry (with caffeine) flavours.
- If someone is there to offer a massage after your run then take them up on the offer! Your legs will thank you the next day.
Tips I’d pass on regarding The Great North Run
- The walk from city centre to the start of the race is much longer than you’d expect so leave plenty of time.
- If you’re meeting people afterward then use the meeting points which are marked out by letters.
- If you ran through a charity place or raised money for a charity then visit the charity tent at the finish. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust tent was so helpful and gave us lunch and a free massage as a thank you for running for them.
- Try to organise your transport back home / to your hotel before the day as the Metro and bus services get very busy!
- Make friends with people along the way because everyone is SO lovely.
Until next time Newcastle,