The Great North Run – C2GNR Part 5.
Race day was upon me. I had trained hard, survived injury, and resorted to swapping shoes, but I was ready. I had the fantastic help of my fellow runners from the group who took me under their wing. A taxi to the start was booked and I was assured of a lift at the end. No bags for me to carry or put on a baggage bus! We got dropped off by the taxi near Claremont Place which is pretty close to the start of the run. It’s not until you get to the bridge over the Central Motorway and see all the runners and their pens going into the distance that you can take in the sheer size of this race!
Guided to my pen, I got involved with the group warmup and then heard the wheelchair racers, Men’s and Women’s elites all being set off and seeing some of it on the big screens. You are still waiting as the celebrity runners and club runners go, then the coloured waves from each pen shuffle forward. I got more nervous the closer to the start I got but that soon went away once I crossed the line and started running.
Once you get on to the Tyne Bridge you start to really comprehend how much support you get from people who come out to watch. Cheers, high fives from the kids, sweets, fruit, ice pops, more cheers, medical guys with Vaseline, bands, beer, more cheers, more high fives off the kids, charity support stations …the list goes on. It’s crazy busy too; you are weaving in and out of people, being light on your feet at the drinks stations, those bottles are lethal! I get past and survive as we are passing the half way point. It was then I spotted David who I knew from my running group ahead of me. I caught up and it was great to see a familiar face for a bit of craic and encouragement. I left David and went on at my own pace. I must admit a lot of the dual carriageway parts of the race would be dull and boring if it wasn’t for the people who come out to support the runners. I kept going and I finally saw the seafront of South Shields – 1 mile to go! What feels like the longest mile in human history, you have to pick targets of who you have to get past – was I hell going to be beaten by a minion, or Minnie Mouse!
I kept pushing and I made it to the end!!!! I’d done it! I’d completed my first half-marathon and my first ever Great North Run.
Which will lead me nicely onto my next blog post, now that the distance and running frequency was increasing, it was becoming essential to be in the correct shoes.