Great North Fun Virgin

Trainers? Check. Number? Check. Energy gels? Check. Hankie tucked into my shorts just in case I need to blow my nose half way round? Check. Timing chip to record the sacred time I did my very first half marathon in? Ch – What? No. That’s still in the envelope on my desk at home. What an idiot. What a plonker. What a dozy doughnut.

But I guess these things happen though don’t they… Don’t they? They must do. A runner has a lot to think about before a race.

After months of training and effort put into that one event, your mind can become a bit jumbled. So, if on the day of the race you forget your spare hankie… don’t beat yourself up about it. You’re only human. (I wish i’d forgotten my hankie instead of the flipping timing chip though).

Unfortunately, with my cheap sports watch, I won’t be sure of my time to the precise millisecond. However, a thing I can be sure of is that running those 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields was one of the most fantastic, most memorable days of my life.

The stress and competitive nature of running is one that we see too much. I’d been looking forward to doing the GNR. I’d been told by several people how amazing the atmosphere is. I’d been told it was the greatest half marathon there is – so my hopes were high. My hopes were quivering, sitting on the mountain tops. Who knew that reality would soar above those mountain tops and into the clouds.

I was really pleased with my stopwatch time of 1 hour 39 minutes. But after 13.1 miles, I crossed the finish line full of energy, bright eyed and barely out of breath. I don’t think this was due to my improvised training plan. It was a result of the crowd, the cheers, the oggy oggy oggys, the oi oi ois, the man with a fridge on his back. It was the contagious buzz and excitement from those around me.

We often treat running as a slog, a painful effort to test our endurance and physical capabilities. We often forget that running should be fun – a celebration of our health and fitness.

Celebrate with me and book your place for the GNR 2015. Timing chip or no timing chip, without a doubt, I’ll be there.

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