Race Report: The Great North Run 2015

Race Report: The Great North Run 2015

Date: 13th September 2015

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Warm and sunny

Website: greatrun.org

Positives: excellent organisation, first class support, seems like the whole of Newcastle, Gateshead and South Shields get behind the event

Negatives: I hate to complain about sunshine, but it was unanticipated, and I could have done without it!

As with many runners, the Great North Run has been on my bucket list for years. I had secured a lace last year, but had to defer after I picked up an injury. So, I felt more than ready and a bit overwhelmed as the date for this race came around. To add to all of that, the news that Mo Farah was running just made it even more special.

The lead up to the event was great, with frequent emails from the Great Run team and numerous social media posts about the event really meant I was looking forward to it, and very excited. @TheWelshWookie and I had booked the ‘coach, sleep and run’ package from Glasgow, via Nirvana Europe, and we didn’t quite know what to expect. We knew that our accommodation would be in Newcastle University halls of residence, which were very near the start line, and we were open to just seeing how the weekend turned out. It was excellent, and I can’t recommend the Nirvana Europe package highly enough.

We arrived at Buchanan Bus Station on Saturday morning, and spotted our bus right away:  

 We were first at the bus stance, but before long, a few other runners arrived. There were 10 of us on the bus, and it was a great crowd of friendly, supportive runners – as I’m sure you’d expect. Due to the low numbers, the coach had been subbed for a minibus (albeit a nice, comfy one), and our driver, Frank introduced himself. He’d been drafted in at short notice, and – to be honest – didn’t have much of a clue about where he was going. But, being a friendly bunch, mobiles were used as sat navs, to get us to where we were going.

Anyway, we made it to Newcastle, and to our digs, which were at Castle Leazes. We were warmly welcomed, and headed to the check in area where we were given our room keys and a goody bag:  

  That was a lovely wee surprise! There were plenty of staff on hand to continue with the welcome, and to make sure we found our rooms ok. The rooms were basic, as you’d expect, but ideal, with a bed, sink, desk, shelves, etc. There was plenty of tea and coffee available in the communal kitchen area, which was welcome.  

 In the evening, @TheWelshWookie and I headed out into the city, to find our bearings. We easily found the start line, and snapped a picture of what would be the start muster in only a few hours:  

 We then wandered through the city centre, and down to see the iconic landmarks at the quayside, such as the millennium bridge, and the Sage building:  

 We noticed that there was someone on the roof of the Sage building. Imagine our surprise when we got home and watched back the coverage to discover that it was none other than fellow runner and thoroughly good bloke, Professor Brian Cox, recording the opening scenes for the TV coverage! 😀   

  After a quick bite to eat, we took a lovely stroll up past St James’ Park, and back to the halls of residence for an early night. 

 As ever, I had my race gear ready to go the night before: 

 We were up at a decent time, and had arranged to get our bags back to the mini bus at 8am, so that Frank could get the bus out before the roads were closed, and we arranged to all meet back at the South Shields pick up point by 3pm or 3.30pm for departure. We then went to the refectory for breakfast. There was a brilliant spread: while we stuck to our usual breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, there was plenty of porridge and bananas being consumed, as well as some folks enjoying a full cooked breakfast 😮

Wee were grateful for the Newcastle Uni goody bags, as we could use these for some snacks and a change of clothes at the finish line. The forecast was for grey, cloudy skies and cool temperatures, so I thought we’d need something warm to change into. It had been very chilly when we put our bags onto the mini bus. Little did we know that this was going to change!

But, as we had decided to take bags, we had to get these onto the baggage buses by 10.10am. So, at around 9.50am, we strolled up to the start area, which had been totally transformed from the evening before. We easily found the right buses, and stashed our bags. I remembered to take a photo in case I couldn’t remember where the bags were:  

  And then we made our way into the starting pen. As we did so, the sun broke through the clouds, and the heat began to build. There were plenty of large screens by each pen, which was fantastic: it really kept you entertained as you waited. I also did my first ever Periscope broadcast, and having watched it back, I definitely need to give more thought to what I’m doing in future. It was fun 🙂

    
  Anyway, we watched the start of the ladies’ race and the ‘wheels of steel’ wheelchair race, and eventually it as time for the start of the men’s and mass participation race. I was great to watch Mo Farah et al actually start, knowing we’d be passing through the start soon! Then, the Red Arrows were overhead, and looked fantastic: 

 Well, when I say soon, it took our wave over half an hour to get to the start line! As we walked towards the start, there was a real mixture of excitement and a touch of angst as I realised that the sun was staying out, and I had no sun cream on. Ooops!

The support right from the beginning was amazing. As we ran through the tunnels and underpasses of the first mile or two, there was a lot of supportive ‘Oggie, oggie, oggies’ which was amazing! I had such a huge smile on my face!

The support as we ran over the Tyne Bridge was unbelievable – the streets were full, and nowhere on the course was unsupported. As we got to mile three, we had an impromptu pit stop so the ‘TheWelshWookie’ could use the facilities. And then, at mile four, it was my turn to stop. But, I stopped at the St. John’s Ambulance tent, in search of some sun cream. Fortunately, they carry sachets of Factor 30, God bless them!

Once I was suitably smothered in cream, we could get back to the run, and into our rhythm. After two early stops, and a crowded field, as well as a hot, hot day, we decided to just take the run easy, and make the most of it – savour the atmosphere. And that’s what we did.

We waved as we passed charity buses, we sang along as we passed the many music points, including joining in with ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ amongst other tunes. We high fived many, many kids who lined the route. It was awesome!

We were blown away by the support. And the food! Wow! I have never seen so many people with so much food for runners. Yes, there were tons of jelly babies and jelly beans. But there were also people handing out ice lollies and ice poles, polo mints, fresh lemonade, a young guy even offered us a can of Strongbow! 😉

Our favourite was the lady offering fresh sausage rolls, telling us that they were lovely – she sounded just like Sarah Millican! 😉 It was just awesome!

I won’t say that this race flew by – it didn’t. Miles 6 – 9 did, but there were a couple of tough points, too, particularly the hill at mile 11. It wasn’t as bad as I had expected, but it was tough. Just then, the Red Arrows were back overhead, and their aerial display really kept us entertained.

Then, there was the downhill stretch towards the sea, which was tough on the joint at that stage, and we found ourselves running the final mile along the water front. The support was outstanding.
We could hear music behind us, getting closer, and as it did so, it changed to ‘Uptown Funk’. Just what we needed for the final stretch! So, there we were, belting it out as we ran along the front, when we realised that the music was from a runner pushing another participant in a wheelchair. Wowee! And, yes, they did overtake us!

Then we were at the finish, and we crossed the line, in true Mobot style. Wow. I have goosebumps thinking about it now 🙂

There was a short walk from the finish to the medal collection, where @TheWelshWookie and I had to split up, as we were funnelled through the finish by t-shirt size. I collected my medal, give to me by a young guy with a hearty ‘well done’, which he must have said hundreds or thousands of times already.

We met back up again, and then walked to the baggage buses to retrieve our gear. There was a huge changing area, which was great, as I could get into some comfy clothes for the bus journey home. We then made our way to the bus, to find that only two guys had gotten there before us! So, we had time to chill out, have some snacks, and enjoy the sun, before boarding the bus back to Glasgow.

Here’s a map of the race: 

  Our stats: 2:39:01 my slowest HM to date, but that didn’t matter in the slightest

The Medal: 

 Goody Bag: Lucozade, water, crisps, cereal bar, samples and leaflets: 

 T-shirt: A pretty cool finisher’s medal. Excuse the wild hair – I’d taken off my visor, and the wind picked up just as I was having my pic taken! 😮  

  
I had left my Nike SportWatch in my room (which the staff kindly returned to me), so I used my Nike App to record the run. I’m not sure what happened, as it recorded the run as almost 15 miles!

I can understand why people rate the GNR so highly. I really is the King of Half Marathons. If you ever get the chance to run it, take that opportunity! And if you have run it, what were your thoughts about it? I’d love to hear them.

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Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hello! How was your weekend? Mine was out-of-this-world awesome! 

I cannot believe that I’ve now run the Great North Run. Wow. It was such an amazing event and the whole of the North East seemed to be out, supporting us.

And I can now say I’ve run in the same race as Mo Farah and David Weir. Squeeeeee!

I’ll fill you in with a race report later, once I’ve calmed down a little 😉

I’ve eased off my tired muscles with my regular Clubbercise class, and I’m so glad I did. It’s such great fun and I took it easy tonight. My muscles definitely feel better for it.

Here’s how I’m feeling today:  
I’m feeling proud of all of the hard work that all of the runners put into the training as well as the run itself. Well done everyone! 

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Hello, what a quick week it has been! I hope all of you guys over the pond are enjoying Labor Day today- it seems to have marked the end of summer here too; we have glorious sunshine, but there’s a slight nip in the air. Autumn is on its way.

We are now T-6 until the Great North Run, this time next week it will all be over. I’m really looking forward to it, I’ve heard so many great things about the course and the support!

Last week was a good one for me, from a training perspective. All of my classes were back in full swing, and I can genuinely say that I had DOMS from last Saturday right through until the Friday, and they affected most muscle groups at some point. Ouch, but good ouch! 
This week I’m taking it a little easy, and saving myself for Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to work hard at my classes, and I won’t be going on a huge carb binge, but I will be sensible and taper.

For anyone else running a race next weekend:

 Run your run!

Monday Motivation 

Monday Motivation 

Greetings! 

How are you? Good weekend? Glad to hear it! Mine has been fab- I’m well and truly feeling the DOMS today 😁

We had a brilliant SUPercise session on Saturday, which I found tough going as we’d missed the last three weeks. My thighs were already aching before our long run yesterday! We ran a lovely 11 miles, including a few hills, so it was a challenging but fun run. 

We also took part in the Nike ‘Run Your Fast’ challenge. We opted to run it in our tenth mile- not one of my best ideas, but it really pushed the pace at the toughest part of the long run! Our average pace was over 12 minutes for the whole run, but the fast mile was the quickest I’ve ran in 2015, at 8’52” woo hoo!  

So my legs have been feeling it all day today. Am I going to rest tonight? Nope- I’m going to ease the muscles with the return of Clubbercise after a summer break. Yay! I love this class- great tunes, fun and a fab burn all at the same time. I’m also getting back to Pound this week, so I have a full week of fitness activities ahead.

I’m now feeling ready for the Great North Run in a fortnight: I’m planning on balancing tapering with maintaining my fitness by getting stuck into my classes again. 

So, here’s to a great week- I hope yours is awesome too! 

 

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

How’s your Monday been? Mine has been great 🙂

Did you have a fun weekend? We had some brilliant family time on Saturday, with the annual Mass my dad organises, followed by a family party. We were very fortunate with the weather: we were able to sit outside for a while, and the boys had great fun on the bouncy castle, and playing with the outdoor toys.

On Sunday we had a diverted route home, which took us on two ferries. Unfortunately there had been road closures, one of which was as a result of a fatality. It took us much longer than usual to make our way home, but we made the most of it, by enjoying the sunshine, the scenery and even the hospitality at Portavadie, where we stopped off for a coffee (for @TheWelshWookie) and a glass of vino (for me) on our way to the second ferry. Diversions are just part of the experience of living in Argyll, particularly at this time of year when the roads are busy.  

 Tonight, we did a four miler, so our last full week’s training for the Great North Run is on track. However, I have a trip away at the end of the week so I’ll be packing my trainers and trying to squeeze in a little run at some point.  

 I saw this last week, and thought it would be perfect for boosting motivation, so here it is:  

 Have a fabulous week!

Monday Motivation

Monday Motivation

Greetings from the Scottish Borders!

I’m in this beautiful part of the world until tomorrow, and so this blog post is coming from somewhere a little different today 🙂

How was your weekend? I filled you in on Saturday evening with my week’s antics, and yesterday mostly involved me squeezing in my three mile walk before heading off on my little work adventure.

Did you enjoy World Gin Day? I was very well behaved, and only had one gin. I was very tempted to have more, but I reckon that I was worn out from my SUPercise and running! 🙂

Today is the start of week 5 training for me – the week’s subitile is ‘Test Your Limits’. Eeek! I’m planning to fit in a fur miler tonight, but that may or may not happen. If it doesn’t, I’ll make up for it later in the week, and it will mark my first missed session of this training plan. Go me!

In other news, @TheWelshWookie and I have booked our travel and accommodation for the Great North Run – Yay!

Here’s something I found last week, and loved:

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GNR: I’m in!

GNR: I’m in!

Well, the title of this post kinda gives the game away! I’m doing a very happy dance, as I’m in! I secured a place in the Great North Run! Squeeeeeeeeee!

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It’s one of those races that I watch on TV every year, and wish I was participating. And this year, I will be!

I think I’m right in saying that the Great North Run is the world’s biggest Half Marathon (correct me, or back me up on this, please!), and this year, the one millionth participant will cross the finish  line. Secretly, I’ll be running and pretending that it’s me 😉

It’s on Sunday, 7th September, and since that’s about seven weeks before my first full marathon, I thought it would fit in nicely with my training. I may have to tag on a couple of miles at the end, but that should be ok 😉

Unfortunately, @TheWelshWookie didn’t secure a place 😦 so, I’ll be running myself.

But I can’t help but be excited!

For anyone who has run it before, any tips?

Looking Towards Late Summer

Looking Towards Late Summer

So, it may still be January, and freezing outside for many of you. But I’m already looking towards late summer!

funny-graphs-summer

Already, I have my summer holidays all authorised at work, so I can now look forward to a few trips. 🙂

I’ve also been mooching around various running sites, lining up potential races.

So far, I’ve entered the ballot for places in the Great North Run:

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I watched last year’s race, wishing I was there! I know it’s always over subscribed, so I’ll just have to wait and see if I’m lucky 😉

I’m also still considering the Loch Ness Marathon, and I am definitely leaning towards entering it…. I just haven’t actually committed to it….. yet!

Back in the present, this evening I’ve done my plank-a-day, my squat challenge and some rowing. Gosh, it feels great to be back to it!

Have you signed up for any late summer races yet?

A Weekend Round Up

A Weekend Round Up

Evening all, have you had a good weekend? I’ve had a blast!

My shopping spree yesterday went better than I had anticipated (although @TheWelshWookie was driven bonkers by other shoppers barging in front of him 😮 ). We popped into the Nike store, only to find that they had a SALE on! Yes, that’s right, I accidentally walked into a sale. In the Nike shop. Oh. My. Goodness.

And so, I was very controlled went a wee bit crazy, but at least I stocked up on some winter running gear, and not some frivolous stuff!

I bought two pairs of full length tights, one pair is a funky blue stripy number, and I also bought the dri-fit knit long sleeve top that  I have been coveting for months, since it was on SALE! Yay!

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@TheWelshWookie also got some gear. including this rather bright number:

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And, as it was the day before the Great North Run, I made @TheWelshWookie take my photo with the picture of Mo, in the Nike Store. Yes: I have no shame….

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I then had a great night celebrating my god daughter’s birthday, which included a shedload one or two glasses of vino….!

This morning began with some more shopping (grocery shopping, bo-ring) and then we settled down to watch the build up of the GNR. I might have mentioned once or twice (or maybe more) to @TheWelshWookie that I really want to run it next year. It looked brilliant! I’m sure everyone will have seen the final couple of miles of the elite race, with Mo Farah just losing out on first place by one second: his sprint finish was just not enough. It was so exciting!

Congratulations to everyone who ran: I hope you enjoyed it, and are celebrating tonight.

We’ve been to a family Christening, and are now home, watching football. My team, the Jaguars, are facing @TheWelshWookie’s team, the Raiders, so tonight is going to be fun!

In other weekend news, Carolyn and Dougie have successfully completed the Beatson Challenge! They are so amazing, and I’m in awe of what they have achieved! We drove past them on our way to Glasgow on Saturday, and they managed a wave and a smile: they were looking really strong!

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You can see their photos here

I’m looking forward to running tomorrow, road testing a pair of my new tights 😀