Great North Run

I've found a race report from my very first Great North Run. :)

Date: Sep 07    Distance: 13.1m    Time:2:28:41    Shirt number:45079    Placement:26626

My very first competitive race, well….I say competitive, I was never going to win!
If you haven’t done the GNR then you really want to!  Mind you, it’s a hell of a long way, 13.1 miles to be exact.
I arrived at the starting area pretty early, around 8:45, bearing in mind that the race wasn’t due to get started until 10:30.  However getting there early was the best plan.  No rushing around looking for a baggage bus, finding my running pen (the colour of your running number relates to your starting area), going to the toilet etc
Talking of toilets, I would definitely recommend taking a wodge of toilet roll with you.  There are dozens of portaloos but the toilet rolls don’t last for ever!
After a couple of nervous wee’s I made my way to my ‘pen’.  The excitement builds as more and more people fill up your pen, then they have some random fitness guru (I think it Mr motivator) getting the crowd to warm up.  I snubbed the warm up as my starting pace is slow enough to me considered a warm up of it’s own.

I wore a scabby old sweatshirt which I ditched as we started to make our way to the start line  It took a good twenty minutes from the start of the race until I actually crossed the line.  The good thing is though is that it a chip timed event, so your individual time starts when you actually cross the line
It’s a cliché  but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up when we went under the first flyover “OGGY-OGGY OGGY” was the chant, brilliant!  This is what the GNR is all about!  Even this early on in the race, the route was lined with people cheering, shouting and clapping.

One of the highlights of the day was around 5 minutes into the race; as I made my way over the Tyne Bridge the Red Arrows blazed over head, awesome!
Slightly undulating is how they describe the run, with the first sightly undulating bit being the small rise directly after the Tyne Bridge, then it levels out before dropping down to the Gateshead Stadium.
The run up to Heworth roundabout is quite misleading, in a car, no problem… a pair of trainers….a bit steep.  If I remember correctly there was a water station near here.
The rest of the course is fairly flat and relatively quiet after the masses of people nearer Newcastle.  This is a good time to check your firing on all cylinders.  What pace are you running at? Too fast, too slow? Any niggles?  Had enough water?

The numbers of spectators increase as South Shields approach.  A slight word of warning, do some hill work.  There is a long and steady climb through the center of South Shields (not sure of the road name) pretty much all the way until you turn left after a very steep 100 yards down onto the coastal road.
If you only remember one bit of advice, this is it; don’t think because you are at the coast that you are home and dry, that you can nail the last bit; you might well be able to, but the last mile is very, very long.  Especially with the standard North East wind in your face.  The last thing you want to do it walk the last part ‘cos you've knackered yourself.
This is where you should look up and scan ahead for the finishing line, because believe me, it’s a bloody good sight to see. 
As you approach the finishing line, make sure you aren't running alongside some guy dressed up as Sponge Bob Square Pants or Buzz Lightyear because you may look like a fool in your finishing line photograph!  Arms up in the year, try to smile and don’t throw up!
Keep walking after you cross the line, don’t stop.  I read an article that said a lot of runners feel faint or have fainted after finishing a long race because your blood can well up in your legs if you don’t keep moving which can lead to light headness.

Next thing to do is take off your chip timing device which should have been fixed to your trainers, and pop it into one of the dump bins. Grab a free bottle of water and make your way to the goodie bags    The goodie bag area is split into T-Shirt sizes.  I’m 6′ 2″, 14 stone and I went for the XL if that helps.
When I got my goodie bag the very first thing I done was rip open the packet and get my medal on!  I just ran 13.1 miles and I was as proud as hell!

If you are meeting friend and family you can either arrange to meet them at one of the alphabetical signs or if you know the area, at a landmark.  oh, don’t forget to get you bag from the baggage bus.
Nearly forgot, a few things I'll do differently this year is to take a bottle of water with me, so I don’t have to slow down and grab one from the water stations on route and i’d eat a SiS GO! bar an hour before the start.  I ate one before the London 10k this year and I had bags of energy.
Well, that’s what happened in my first GNR.  I hope you enjoy the race as much as I did.

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