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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GLASGOW 2014: Highs and Lows

GLASGOW 2014: Highs and Lows

Did you manage to watch any of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony?

What did you think?

I LOVED it! It was very self-depreciating, tongue in cheek, and just shows that we don’t always take ourselves too seriously 🙂

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I loved the dancing Tunnock’s teacakes! I’d love one that size!

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More importantly, I thought the UNICEF appeal was a fantastic idea, I wonder if that will now set a trend?

There seemed to be a lot of debate on Facebook and Twitter: lots of people loved it, others hated it, I thought it was great fun! Except Susan Boyle singing Mull of Kintyre (and unfortunately fogetting the words). I could have done without that!

I also loved Sir Chris Hoy saving the day, by opening up the Queen’s Baton.

And the Scotland team uniform is growing on me. A little. Except the socks. Yuk!

So, for me, the Opening has been a high. Lots of fun.

Now for the low: Mo Farah has pulled out. Boo! 😦 He hasn’t recovered sufficiently from illness, so I have no doubt he’s done the right thing. I guess it just reminds me that pulling out of a race can be a sign of strength, not weakness. He’s talked before about wanting to add a Commonwealth Gold to his collection, and I’m sure he’ll be disappointed.

Oh, well, I’ll still see Usain Bolt ‘flash’ past! 🙂

I’ve Only Gone and Done It!

I’ve Only Gone and Done It!

Earlier this month, I posted about Mo Farah’s pledge to move from Metres to Miles in 2014, and how I was considering running my first marathon, too.

Well I’ve only gone and done it. I’ve signed up for  The Loch Ness Marathon this September! Eeek!

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I thought: this is the year. It’s the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It’s the Year of Homecoming across Scotland. Mo’s stepping up the distance. And I signed up!

There was something extra special about signing up for this race: it’s the first race I’ve signed up for in my married name- since I’ll be an ‘auld married wummin’ by then! That was exciting, too!

Be prepared to be very bored with my marathon chat, folks! 😉

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Metres to Miles in 2014

Metres to Miles in 2014

Evening all: I’m just dropping by with a quick question to all of my super-knowledgeable friends, during my short visit home from Portavadie and before yet another busy weekend. We have our family Secret Santa day tomorrow!

I need a holiday!

Those of you who are fans will have seen that, for Mo Farah, 2014 is about moving from metres to miles.

In 2014, Mo will run a marathon.

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Now, the question I have is: can I do the same?

I’ve been eyeing up The Loch Ness Marathon for some time, following some twitter encouragement from @pt_steveb . I must admit, I am seriously tempted. But, can this serial short-distance jogger of 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons step up and do the big one?

Movember Round Up

Movember Round Up

Well, now that we’re at the end of Movember, and staring down the barrel of December (yay!) I thought I’d do a quick Movember round-up.

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Favourite run this month?

@TheWelshWookie and I really enjoyed the MoRun earlier this month:

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And @TheWelshWookie has been sporting his Mo all month:

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All in the name of charity 😉

I was delighted to find out that my MoRun race report was mentioned on the Mo Running website’s MoBlog!

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Favourite food this month? Well, it’s been a toss-up between a bag of metcalfe’s popcorn and my pizza and salad last week:

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What has been your Movember highlight?

Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Date: 9th November 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Frosty cold, wet

Website: http://glasgow.mo-running.com/

Positives: great fun, lovely atmosphere. very flat course

Negatives: lack of instructions

The night before the MoRun, @TheWelshWookie and I met up with my bestie Pauline, her OH Gavin and her two wonderful kids, my god daughter Olivia and her bro Christopher. We had a lovely evening carb loading, and swapping birthday pressies. Amongst other things, I received a fab new bag which has instantly become my new race day bag:

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As we had packed on Thursday night, I had my gear all prepared and ready:

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On race day, we were up early, and got ready before leaving the house. We must have looked a sight!

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Our early rise was greeted with a beautiful sunrise, through the rain. It was cold and frosty, and I had opted not to wear a base layer. I quickly realised this was a mistake, and so it meant that I had to do a quick car-change 😉

We arrived at Glasgow Green, and parked in the same place as we did for the GSR last month. We walked down to the gazebos, in the rain, to pick up our race packs and our head bands. It was so cold! But the park was looking beautiful!

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We headed back to the car, fixed on our race bibs and our head bands:

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And then we had a gel block each. Soon, it was time to brave the cold and join the rest of the runners near the start line.

Our first stop was the portaloos, as the queue was pretty long. I saw that we weren’t the only people dressed up, which was great! I was the only one sporting a green wig and moustache, though 😉

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The atmosphere was friendly, and we milled about a little, waiting for the pre-race warm up and instructions. There was a gazebo containing the PA system, and we kept warm tapping toes and dancing a little to the music (OK, maybe I was the only one). There was a guy with a mic, but no one could really hear what he was saying, which was odd.  Anyway, I figured out that they were calling the 5K runners to the start line first, and they got off pretty quickly. Oddly enough, the start line was not the start. I was about 50 metres further away. Hmmmm.

Here’s my view from the start:

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Soon, the 10K runners were moved to the start line, and we were off! I had a false start with my SportsWatch, as we ran over the finish line before the start, so I started my watch a little early.

The race itself was entirely inside Glasgow Green, and involved two laps of the route. The route was lovely and flat, with no hills at all. We ran past the Peoples Palace:

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And we also ran past the new national hockey centre, which will host the Commonwealth Games hockey sessions. Our pace was slow and steady, which was our plan all along, as @TheWelshWookie hasn’t run since the Zombie Night Run. He re-injured his knee, and so has been resting it for the past fortnight.

We also ran along the banks of the canal, and watched the rowers out on the water. As the park was open to the public, we had to run around dog walkers and others who were out and about, as well as the slower 5 and 10K runners, but all in all it was fine. The support was great, particularly from the race marshals, many of whom had some really motivational signs!

I enjoyed the second lap, as I knew by then that the course was lovely, and the time seemed to pass quickly. There was one water stop, but was only manned by two people, so some runners were having to stop and fill up their own water.

At 6K, the clouds opened, and dumped an icy rainfall onto us, for the remainder of the race. Shortly after that, at around the 7K mark, we had to stop, as @TheWelshWookie’s race bib had come off-  the rain had made the bib tear easily and so it had torn free from the safety pins. I reckon that cost us a couple of minutes at least, but as we weren’t worried too much about time, we just started running again when he was sorted.

The final half kilometre or so was great; running up towards Nelson’s Monument. Only, a few inconsiderate runners who had finished had decided to walk four abreast back down the path, meaning that those of us still running had to run around them while they laughed and joked as they walked! I’ll put that down to their post-race euphoria, but why they were allowed to do that, I don’t know.

Anyway, we were happy to reach the finish line, and collect our superb MoMedal 😀 and a bottle of lucozade sport. As it was so cold and wet, we didn’t wait about – we headed straight for the car, knowing that a warm shower was only a half hour away!

We posed for a couple of photos first, of course:

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Here’s the map of the race:

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I’d definitely do this run again!

My Stats:

Time: 1:03:29 which included the stop to sort out @TheWelshWookie’s race bib

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The Medal: a cool moustache, with runners along it:

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Goody Bag: no goodie bag, but we did get a MoRunning headband and a bottle of lucozade sport

T-shirt: no T shirt

@TheWelshWookie was running to raise funds for Movember, and he is still growing his moustache. Will give you a fundraising update when I have it! 😀

MoRun: Done!

MoRun: Done!

Well, Glasgow Green was frrrrreeeeeezing this morning!
But, despite the cold and later the rain, we did it!

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Getting Ready to Mo!

Getting Ready to Mo!

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way through to Glasgow to run the MoRun on Saturday. Woo Hoo! I’m so excited!

I have my race number, so registration tomorrow morning should be pretty straight forward.

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I’ve also organised my race day gear, and it’s all safely packed away, ready. I’m still debating whether to wear a long sleeved base layer under my T-shirt. What do you think? The forecast is for light rain, with temps at around 5C/41F.

Would you like a sneak peek at my outfit?

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And we have our snacks sorted: overkill for a 10K, right? I like to be prepared. We have enough to share!

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I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes, wish me luck! 😀

What are your plans for the weekend? Are you running?

Newsday Tuesday

Newsday Tuesday

Today, I have a news round up for you, from the last 24 hours.

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The main news headline is: I GOT COMMONWEALTH GAMES TICKETS! Hurrah!

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@TheWelshWookie and I submitted requests for six events, and were allocated tickets for our two top events! 😀

We’re going to see the judo all day on Saturday, 26th July 2014: it’s the heavier weight categories, men and women’s and features all qualifying, right up to the repechage, but not the medal matches.

And, on Friday, 1st August 2014 we’re going to see Mo Farah run the 10,000 metres! I’m so happy! 🙂

We’ll also see triple jump, javelin, steeplechase, 4×100 heats, 4×400 heats for men and women, pole vault, women’s 800m, 100 hurdles, high jump and discus.

It’s so exciting!

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In other news, our Super Saturday race packs arrived today, for the Great Scottish Run! We’ve already received our packs for Sunday’s 10K:

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But the packs for the Family Mile, which my four oldest nephews are running along with the ‘big’ boys (i.e. their dads, and @TheWelshWookie) arrived today. They each get a proper race bib, and a tshirt, so it’s a great introduction to running for kids! I’m looking forward to taking lot of pictures!

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And finally, did you notice my new address, tartanjogger.com? I’ve had the domain name for while, but since I’m not very tech-savvy, it’s taken me a while to get it set up! If you’re having problems viewing my blog, please let me know!

That’s tonight’s news headlines; now for the weather.

It’s cold and windy, so I haven’t run. I’ll definitely need to head out tomorrow! 😉

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 😀