14 Sep Great North Run – 11/09/2016 – Nigel’s Review
The Great North Run is an iconic event which started in 1981. I ran it last year in 2:03, but was miles back in the start. This year I was where I should have been with my good friend, Sarahbetty Lees and another friend Kathryn Alford.
The event is such a great experience we made a weekend of it, staying along quayside in Newcastle. On the morning we walked to the start, dropped off our bags on the buses and sorted our final ablutions. With that many people present the queues were long and loads of people simply utilised the bushes and scrub alongside the dual carriageway.
It is an amazing experience a great cacophony of a crowd, 55,000+ all crammed into one dual carriageway stretching back over half a mile. It took a all of 10 mins to get over the line, by which time Mo Farrah was already two miles down the road.
Very early on you go under a succession of underpasses where the cry goes up, “Oggie, Oggie, Oggie, Oy, Oy,Oy” amazing echos rolling on and on. Then you are across the Tyne bridge and a bloody big lump comes to your throat as the Red Arrows scream overhead, nearly low enough to touch, red, white and blue trails filling the sky.
We are hitting 8:30’s now and trying not to get carried away with the crowd, but its hard not to. Now you’re into dual carriageway territory, but the crowds are huge wherever you go, Samba bands, Rock Bands and loads of locals in carnival mood.
Up to the 5 mile point the highest on the route and its getting hot, we have settled into 9 min miles now and that is where we stay, smack on for just under two hours. On and on, hotter and hotter, but we are keeping it going, utilising the bus shelter showers, you can run through, that litter the course, picking up plain water, but not that fizzy lucozade, I’d just throw up.
8 Miles comes and goes, this is where I found it hard last year, but it flies by and in no time we are past 10. Just a parkrun to go.
Into the housing estate and now there is only 2 miles to go and it starts to get bloody hard, pace not letting up. It seems to go on forever and then we are there, over the top and dropping down to South Shields sea front, only about a mile and a quarter to go.
Markers come up, 800 metres, 400 metres, 200 metres and thank god the finishing line and its over. Cutting it mighty slim 1:59:21 fastest half since last October. Sarah and Kathryn came in just ahead on 1:57:57.
Off to the bus, pick up bag and change, Sarah and Kathryn join me and we go to get well deserved Salt and Pepper chicken (not Sarah) and noodles, just what the doctor ordered.
Then on to the beer tent for three hours of live music, live craft beer and dancing. What a day, absolutely fantastic.
A hell of a long way to go, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world. If you haven’t done it, you are missing out big time. Next year we are staying in the beer tent until midnight, see you there???