Mo v Malc – The Great North Run – The outcome…”He jumped the start!!!”
Some of you may have read my blog a month ago, leading up to my preparation to my first Half-Marathon – The Great North Run.
Here’s how the weekend panned out…..
My running partner and I arrived in Newcastle around 4.30pm on Saturday evening, the day before the race, checked into our ‘hotel’, where the receptionist warned us it was going to be a rowdy night at the Inn – “Lots of Hen and Stag do’s here tonight” he quite proudly boasted. That’s great I thought to myself, all I need is a good night sleep before the next day’s run!
So we checked in, then headed out for pasta and soft drinks – quite an experience in a town-centre full of hen and stag-do’s, with people lying around the pavement drunk and falling asleep standing up….at 6pm in the evening!
So then back to our rooms to get our heads down for an early night, in preparation for the big day. The night wasn’t too noisy in the end, just a few chattering couples but nothing too rowdy!
So up at 7, for porridge, banana and fruits juices to fuel up for the run, I was a bundle of nerves and butterflies filled my stomach along with the breakfast. We headed out of the hotel at 8 taking a scenic walk past St. James’s Park, home of Newcastle United FC, to get to the race which was starting at 10.20.
The closer we got to the start, the more the runners were congregating, all with different looks and auras around them……..the nervous ones, excited ones, the pros ‘just doing another run’, those in fancy dress, those looking hungover……the excitement was growing inside me along with the nerves, I just wanted to get out there running!!!
We got to the start line, which all in all was probably around a kilometer long, I have never seen so many people in all my life, around 50,000 people entered the race that day.
After a massive group warm up with everybody joining in, it was time for the big off!!! My friend and I were fortunate to be quite close to the start, and it only took us around 3 minutes from the gun going off, to us actually crossing the line. Someone I was chatting to after the race told me it took him 40 minutes to cross the start line!
So we were off……it wasn’t as congested as I had anticipated thankfully, and we headed off at a pace a bit quicker than I would have liked (I would like to add at this point my running partner is 6ft 10” tall) My thinking was if I felt tired I would simply slow down. The crowds, bands playing music, sweets – fruit – drinks being handed out, all the way were amazing and a massive boost when I hit tough times.
Physically I was quite comfortable with the run, but mentally I found it difficult in the early stages, knowing after 10 minutes I possibly still had another 2 hours to go yet! Also I hadn’t realized that alot of it was slightly uphill, I had swerved hills as much as I could in my training!
Reaching the 7 mile marker was quite a boost, I knew I was over halfway there, on the home straight, still feeling comfortable, and still keeping up with my friend. The miles flew by, and before we knew it we passed the 12 mile marker – 1 mile to go!!!! At 800metres I stepped my pace up knowing I still had more to give…….at 50metres there was a flash as a giant flew past me – my running partner!!!! I couldn’t let this go so started sprinting too – ducking in and out of the other runners, gradually drawing level with him and crossing the line together!!! We had done it, and in great style too sprinting the last 50metres!!!
The feeling afterwards was of such relief and achievement, and exhaustion after the final sprint!!! Amazingly when we finally received our official times, we had both run the Half Marathon in 1:55:54…….identical times amazingly enough. We were both aiming to complete the run in under 2 hours so were very pleased with this time! I was a little disappointed I didn’t keep up with Mo Farah, but I’m pretty sure he jumped the start!!!
We then sat back for a couple of hours refueling whilst watching a display by the Red Arrows.
This was a highly enjoyable, rewarding event which I would highly recommend any aspiring runner to participate. And an added bonus was the we raised over £1600 for The Sick Children’s Trust.
Blog Written by Malcolm Saunders
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