Running the Great North Run two Sunday’s ago was by far one of the coolest things I have ever had the chance to take part in, and I’m not lying when I say it was really enjoyable.
The thought of running a half marathon several weeks before the race date at the time sounded like a fantastic idea and something I was really looking forward to completing, but it then dawned on me that I have actually never ran 21KM before.
So the preparation began, or at least I gave it a good shot at attempting to prepare. With the odd run here and there, which mostly consisted of a casual 5KM jog and one serious 10KM run, time went pretty quick and the day of the Great North Run (the worlds largest half marathon!) was upon me. The first photo my boyfriend took of me was the calm before the storm!In terms of how many runners sign up to the GNR each year in general is crazy. Last year, 54,000 people took part and this year, that number had gone up by 3,000! It’s quite hard to imagine so many people actually taking part in one race in Newcastle. Seeing so many people was definitely overwhelming, especially when I realised my running number placed me pretty much at the back towards the 53,000’s! Seeing everyone lined up only made me realise how many people were doing it on behalf of charities and also how many charities I haven’t actually heard of. The charity I ran for was ASSERT, and again, it’s a fairly small charity that many people wouldn’t have heard of, so it’s a great way to raise money and gain them exposure.
I decided to run with a few angel accessories as it represents the logo for ASSERT, and I loved every comment that came my way. Especially throughout the run, it was really appreciated just for that kick to keep you going. My favourite though was by a little boy shouting to his mum that he had seen the tooth fairy! Along the way there were people volunteering outside their homes, handing out biscuits, sausage rolls and squirting you with their hose pipes, and on every main stretch there were bands playing to keep you motivated and entertained. Normally the thought of running without music is a total nightmare, but the atmosphere was so amazing that I found myself not even interested in listening to music and just fascinated by how many supporters there were.
Each year, the Red Arrows put on a show at the event, flying past runners and spectators, creating all sorts of shapes in the air. I saw them on a few occasions, but hats off to Nathan who captured some wicked shots. Another thing that’s so worth mentioning is the ‘ogie’ chant that comes with running under every bridge. The GNR is famous for it, and it’s so much fun. All it is basically, is when you run under a bridge along the route, someone will shout ‘ogie, ogie, ogie’ and the rest respond with ‘oi, oi, oi’. I know it sounds mad, but it made me cry. It’s just one of those things that make you really emotional and thankful for taking part.
Although I’m not all too clued up on this, but it’s something my dad told me, all the leftover clothes that the runners throw to the side before they set off running, are collected by the event organisers, bagged up and given to a charity. Now how cool is that! In total, with three other work colleagues who also ran for ASSERT, we managed to raise just short of £500 with the help of a few cookies, doughnuts and supportive friends and family. I loved the Great North Run, and I hope to secure a place in 2016, where I can (fingers crossed) manage to beat my time of 2 hours 9 minutes and complete the run in under two hours.
So if you’re currently umming and aahing on whether you should take part, let me tell you again it’s amazing and you probably won’t regret it. Although it’s a little hectic, it’s a total hoot, and definitely one thing to strike off your bucket list. But if that can’t convince you, look at how happy I am! I’m one happy little tooth fairy!