The Great North Run is one of my favourite events in the race calendar, and this year saw my 4th attempt at it. It really is a fantastic day, made all the better if you can be in Newcastle the day before for the City Games and the Pasta Party (sadly, this year it was a last minute dash for me to Hartlepool the night before, so the Saturday events passed me by).
Having not run this event for a few years (both my partner and I work at a University, its normally held a couple of weeks later to coincide with student arrivals, and hence time-off and being fresh on a Monday morning generally takes priority!), I’d forgotten just how fantastic the support is. From start to finish the crowds were incredible, and then throw into the mix the masses of runners and the Red Arrows – well this is certainly a unique and fantastic run.
As for me though, I wasn’t 100% sure what kind of shape I was in. I also knew only too well about the hilly nature of the course (even if they’d faded slightly since the last time I ran it). I thought I might be able to push a PB, so head out at roughly 1.44 pace (with a PB of 1.42). Sadly, the hills, the heat and lack of fitness told – I was probably on for about 1.47-1.48 until about Mile 9 when I could get anything else out of my legs. I’d gone out too fast and there was very little I could do about it.
The final 4-5 miles were used to take in the scenery and the day, and I crossed the line in 1.54, sadly a couple of minutes slower than my last half (can’t help by think if I’d gone out slower I would have finished stronger, but nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that).
A truly fantastic day, but as I travelled by myself, I’m afraid a complete lack of photos other than a free water-bottle from Puma!
The journey home wasn’t as bad as some of the years previously experienced, but it still took about 5 hours – which is interesting when legs are starting to cramp. Will I be in the ballot again next year – YES. And this was waiting for me in the front window when I got back.