Race Recap // Great North Run 2015


Great North Run is finally done! 12 weeks worth of training and training diaries came to an end this past Sunday. I traveled to and took part in the Worlds Largest Half Marathon. It was a fantastic experience and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Why don't we just get straight into it?!

The Day Before..
I usually don't mention the day before a race during my recaps - but it was quite a bit different this time round. Phillip and I traveled from Cambs down to Newcastle on the Saturday - We'd had accommodation booked since we knew we had our places for the race - we were booked into Student Accommodation booked through Nirvana Europe for the race. Nirvana is great for finding a place to stay the night before if you're travelling from quite far away.

We arrived into Newcastle at around 5 pm - we took a detour before going to find a car park as I had a voucher to spend at Runners Need and we don't have any stores near us! Traffic was MANIC in Newcastle - it took us ages to get anywhere.

I had pre-planned a car park that we were going to park in that was close to where we were staying - but turns out that we couldn't leave the car there overnight so we had to find somewhere else to park! After ringing around - we managed to find a car park not TOO far away from where we were staying.

It was a bit of a trek from the car park to accommodation - after we'd dropped off our bags - we had to head into the city centre to get some food - After walking into town and back - I was worried that I'd done way too much walking - my legs were aching - but I don't know if that was just in my head - needless to say - I went to bed very nervous about the race the next day!

The Morning Of..
Phillip and I woke at around 6:45 am - I didn't pull myself out of bed until about 45 minutes later when I knew we had to have breakfast(and I needed to attempt to go to the toilet! xD).

I had my usual porridge oats for race. I had a Bounce Ball that I was going to eat a little later(that I didn't have as I was worried it wouldn't agree with my stomach). I ended up not having anything else to eat which I think might have hindered me slightly. I could have done with a banana or something extra!
Phillip and I all dressed and ready to leave :)
We left accommodation at 8:45 for what Google estimated at a 30 minute walk to the start line! Eek! There were tonnes of runners already making their way to the the start so there were no worries about not knowing where to go. It was SO crowded though!

We only had 1 bag between us so we had Phillip put it in the orange baggage bus so that he could get the bag whilst he as waiting for me to finish. Handing in baggage was pretty straight forward. They were double decker buses. You put your bag where you wanted and where you'd remember it. They stamped race bibs as a reminder of which baggage bus your bag is on. It was all pretty straight forward!

Afterwards, we went for a last minute toilet trip.. there were loads of toilets but SO many runners so the queues were still huge. We were probably waiting for around 20-25 mins.

Afterwards, we headed to the start. Phillip was right at the start in the orange wave so I said goodbye/goodluck to him pretty early on. I was in green wave and started WAY back. It took a while to walk to where I needed to be. The pens filled with people very quickly! There were two rows of people on either side packed with people!
There was a warm up at 10:15 but I didn't bother with it as I knew I wouldn't be starting for ages. People started taking their layers off and dumping them into the middle between the two lanes - I sure hope that they collect the clothing and that it gets given to a charity that might be able to hand them out to the homeless or something! That would be awesome!

The Race
The race started at 10:40 am. Waves moved very slowly towards the start. I crossed the start line at around 11 am.

The first few miles was about finding my stride and warming up - my legs felt awfully tired as I started and I was worried how I was going to finish. After the start line there is a nice downhill part of the course and a couple of underpasses before reaching Tyne Bridge just before 2 miles. 

We passed Gateshead Stadium(I didn't see it, I wasn't paying attention xD) at the 3 mile point which was also where the first water stop was. I'd already grabbed a bottle whilst we were waiting to start so I just hung onto that one. The tiredness in my legs started to ease too which was a good feeling!

There was a lucozade stop at mile 4.5 - I managed to quickly grab a bottle - I obviously wasn't going to drink the whole thing and neither was everyone else - it almost felt like a waste to drink a couple of swigs and then throw the bottle away, I can't imagine how much Lucozade was wasted!

The lucozade gave me a bit of an energy burst for a couple of miles. I managed to keep around 10:30 min/mi and was on target to get a PB. However - after 9 miles, fatigue started to kick in. It was SO hot Sunday, that combined with the extra energy that I spent trying to dodge and weave round people meant that I was flagging early.

The course was incredibly crowded the whole way round. With 57,000 runners, I'm not surprised. Unfortunately, some participants were not pulling to either side of the road when they wanted to walk - which is usually what most runners will do during a race! Due to this - there was a lot of weaving and trying to get past people - sometimes it was impossible and I had to slow down and slow jog behind people before there was a space to get through.

Miles 9 to 11 were a bit of a blur - my legs were tired and I just wished for it to be over! I picked up water at 10 miles and threw most of it over my head and down my back. I picked up a lucozade at mile 11 to try and give me the last bit of energy I needed to finish. There were so many times where I just wanted to stop and walk for a while to ease my legs - but I was determined to get round the whole thing without stopping, so I powered on!

I spotted the Red Arrows in the distance flying up into the air leaving behind trails of red, white and blue. They distracted me and helped take my mind off the struggle.

At 12 miles, there is the dreaded down hill that everyone says to be careful of as it's steep - I really don't know what everyone's problem with this was, I didn't find it that bad at all! After the downhill, I was pretty much on the last mile stretch to the finish line which is along the coast.

There were SO many supporters out cheering and shouting out motivation - that paired with the red arrows continuing with their display along the coast just spurred me on. I managed to pick up the pace and finish my last mile back at 10:30 min/mi.

I eventually crossed the finish line after what felt like a forever last mile - in 2:20:46! I missed my PB by 2 minutes.. but I'm happy nonetheless. I enjoyed myself for the most part(until I started flagging) and I managed to do the whole thing without having to stop and walk at all! I'm extremely happy with that.
Obligatory selfie with my race bling after getting back to accommodation!
Afterwards - it was a mission to find Phillip - we didn't agree on a place to meet up at the end as we knew the family meeting points would be hella busy and didn't know where else we would meet. SUCH a bad idea. I sent Phillip texts and tried to call him - none of which got through - it took me 40 minutes to find him after finishing! Agree a place to meet if you do this, just so you don't get into the same pickle we did!

Afterwards, we had a lovely hour queue for the Metro back to Newcastle. Stuffy Metro tube for 40 minutes(which I almost passed out on and had to sit on the floor) and then a fabulous 5 hour drive back home in lots of traffic. Amazing! -_-

Overall Thoughts
I must say, the atmosphere and the crowd support was incredible the whole way through the course. There was an abundance of people everywhere cheering people on. There were kids picking up the thrown away water bottles and were using them as water pistols and squirting water at runners which was pretty funny! There were also people handing out orange segments and jelly babies throughout the course too, which was lovely - although I didn't take any - they were pretty popular by the looks of it though!

It was incredible to run with so many other people - of all different ages and fitness levels - it was just a great experience overall.

I do think it was a little too over crowded. It was packed along the whole of the course with very little room to run in between people - but I suppose that people come for the experience of the Worlds Largest Half Marathon rather than worrying about getting a PB.

I would do the race again - I just wouldn't be so bothered about getting any specific times and just do it for the enjoyment.  I think it's definitely a must-do just for the experience!

Look out for a special post coming up this Friday! It involves a product that has become one of my staples for running/performance and recovery! :)

Question: Have you/would you ever consider doing the Great North Run? What do you think is the most important aspect of a race? Crowd Support? The Bling? Let me know!

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  1. Wow!!! Congrats on finishing! The picture of all of the runners is just amazing!

  2. Congratulations. Having only just caught the running bug, running anything like the Great North was never on my radar but having read your blog, know some other runners who participated plus I watched some on TV - it's something I'd like to do in the next couple of years.

  3. @kri@Kristin Longacre Thank you! It was an amazing experience to run with so many other people! :)

  4. @Heather Winterton Thanks! I'm glad I was able to inspire you to consider running it. It's definitely a must do - there's so much support and encouragement the whole way round :)


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