After the marathon task (excuse the pun!) of running 20 half marathons in 2018 I took a break from blogging about running but continued to run of course! This year has been a different challenge for me as I have been quietly clocking up the miles in my 1200 miles in 12 months challenge. All on schedule with over 850 miles completed so far. As for running half marathons I’ve concentrated on training runs and have covered the 13.1 mile distance 15 times this year so far! So to get back into the events side of things it was the long haul back up to the North East to compete in the 2019 Great North Run for the second time.
Last year I had friends to ferry me around Newcastle and South Shields but this year I decided to take on the services of Nirvana, a GNR travel partner. This involved a coach trip from Nottingham, 1 night’s accommodation in Newcastle University, 13.1 mile run to South Shields to be reunited with the coach and (with a bit of luck) your overnight bag! A really different experience for me travelling with 30 others but something I will happily repeat in 2020 at the 40th GNR. Can’t wait for that one.
“The Annual Attempt to catch Mo Farah – Part 2”
Last year the Great North Run seemed to just pass me by as I was in the middle of a run of 5 half marathons in 6 weeks, to ensure the challenge of running 20 would be completed in Nottingham at the Robin Hood Half. It also turned out to be my slowest of the 20 at 1:55:07. In 2018 I really felt beaten up by the Great North and Mo Farah, so this year I wanted to get even (me v the GNR course) and closer to Sir Mo (me v Mo Farah).
Did I win the battle with Mo? This year it was different. I stood on the start line knowing that I could give Mo a scare, and I did. I got 5 minutes and 50 seconds closer to him this year after running 1:49:17. I consider that a moral victory. Just a mere 50 minutes and 10 seconds off the pace for me! Lifetime PB for him of 59:07 – course PB for me, what could be better? In the end we were all winners. Anyone who trains for and runs 13.1 miles deserves a medal, and in this case everyone receives the same one whether you are Mo or me!
The GNR is the World’s biggest half marathon with 57,000 people registered to run. There is an incredible sense of occasion and even hilarity with everything from Disney’s Incredibles, Scooby Doo (again),a man carrying a bike, Wonder Woman, Rob the Bear (more below) together with tens of thousands of charity runners and me all chasing after Sir Mo, Brigid Kosgei, David Weir and Jade Hall. It’s easy to forget that you are running in the same race as the world’s best athletes.
It is difficult to describe the feeling of unity at the start and throughout the GNR. The support is the best I have experienced at any running event. I’ve not ran the London or New York marathons yet but I continue to enter the ballots. It takes a lot of generosity and effort from the people of Tyneside to ensure that everyone is cheered every step of the way. All of us were grateful for every bit of encouragement and support, not to mention drinks, jelly babies, ice creams and offers of Vaseline to help with any rubs (other good brands of petroleum jelly are of course available!). To each and every supporter, marshal, volunteer, member of the service personnel and organisers we are eternally grateful. You really do put the ‘Great’ in the Great North Run.
Funniest Moment – I met Rob two years ago on the train to Birmingham for number 2 of 20. I then met him at the university the night before the GNR – what are the chances? Then I randomly managed to bump into him again (in a full bear costume – mad in that heat) amongst 50,000 on the Sunday morning- unbelievable! Hope he finished ok.
Best Moments – The start area when they played ‘Mr. Brightside – The Killers’ and all you could see for miles was people’s bouncing heads. Humbled by the support of thousands shouting encouragement. Getting the pacing right this year, I enjoyed it so much more than last time.
Most Inspirational Words – 2Great to see someone running for people that are portrayed so badly in the media. We all know someone who has been touched by addictions – Well done to you!”
WHAT’S NEXT? – Get Involved
Robin Hood Half Marathon – It’s nearly time for our local Half Marathon – The Robin Hood, which takes place on Sunday the 29th of September. There’s a regular team of us taking part so why don’t you join us? There is still time to enter but please get in touch with us this week or it may be too late. Please contatct us or to find out more visit the charity ‘s website doubleimpact.org.uk.
We are being sponsored and supported by confectionary business, The Treat Kitchen, again this year and once again some of their team are taking on the 13.1 mile challenge.
Recovery Running Club – Moving to Wednesday’s from 25th September 2019
Since January this year we have been establishing a small but dedicated group of ‘Recovery Runners’. Most weeks we manage to venture out in all conditions to walk, jog or run 5k. If you would like to take part with us get in touch. The next scheduled meet is on Wednesday 25th of September and we plan to meet every week at 5 pm in Café Sobar from then on a Wednesday. The club welcomes all-comers from absolute beginners to seasoned runners. Interested? Then contact us through the website or follow us on Twitter @DI_Runs. See you all out there soon.