The Actual Great North Run 2013 – with proper pictures, too.

Posted: 15/09/2013 in Event, Occasional Half Marathon, Running

Today was the day!

02:06:38 just to get the time out of the way. If that’s all you came for, then there you go. If not, you can get on with the story without being all tense about the result.

Up at 6am after not-much-sleep and I stumbled around – a rainy morning not quite bad enough to establish tights or shorts. I fed the cat something, it could have been plaster, I wasn’t at my best. Whatever it was, I was vaguely aware he was moaning on as I force-fed myself coffee.

Right, coffee ingested, cat fed actual food (apparently), one shower later and we reach the impasse of getting dressed. Well, the rain seemed to have stopped, so that’s shorts then. Probably regret it later, but there you go, I’m an impulsive thing sometimes.

As I had the feeling that parking in town would fill up quickly, and because I tend to over-engineer these kinds of things, I arrived spot on 8am when the car park opened (not early, obviously, that would be silly). The race started at 10:40, so a little time to kill. To the coffee shop!

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About an hour later and off to the start – bag onto luggage bus number 13 (a good sign) and then into the massive queue for the toilet. And wait.

And wait.

Ooh – shuffle forward.

And wait.

Hmm, getting close to the start time now, hang on, those are porta-urinals over there? Quick check to make sure I’m not about to whizz in someone’s sculpture* and that was me sorted.

Off to starting section G, or rather the overflow car park of section G, there wasn’t enough room to fit the section G runners into …erm… section G. How odd.

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When the race actually got underway, with a half-hour shuffle to the line, the plucky overlooked of section G clambered over the fence in a mass-disobedience of the most athletic type.

And we’re off!

The run itself was a bit of a daze, but a lovely daze – I spent most of the time dodging in and out of other runners, but that’s what I expected. Stand out moments were:

  • Running through the underpass onto the Tyne Bridge – as James had mentioned to me, it was pretty odd and a cool thing to have done.
  • The good nature of the other runners.
  • The excellent crowd – despite the weather they’d turned out and did us proud.
  • The bands – fantastic – top moment was “Soul Man” heading under the A19 at Leam Lane.
  • The beer stall at the end of the Bupa Power Zone – it wasn’t an official part, but a lovely wee tipple. Not sure who put it on, but remember the slogan “A Drinking Club With A Running Problem” on the table. Whoever it was, thank you – it was the perfect boost.
  • Ann from work on top of the Alzheimer’s bus – only person I know that I saw all day – a friendly face is a lovely thing.
  • Seeing the sea as we crested the hill on Prince Edward Road – stopped myself from shouting “I can see the sea” – wish I’d just done it.
  • The last mile was beautiful, a nice smooth run – looking at my time I managed a negative split**
  • The organisation – other than the too-many-people thing at the start, it was really well put together.

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So there you have it (well, most of it).

I’d figured I  would maybe run back to Newcastle, but sore big toes and being a bit on the damp side put me off. Queued for the Metro for 30 minutes in the pouring rain, go on and had standing room only. Had to ask someone if I could sit in their place after a while before I fainted from the heat and humidity. Who knows, the visible fug of sweat may not have helped – well done the man who let me sit – forever grateful for that.

Back to Newcastle, drive home and there you go.

A pretty good day out. Don’t know that I’ll do this one again, but glad I’ve done it the once.

I got a medal. And a sponsorship deal with Powerade, it would appear, although that may be a free bottle of Powerade in return for getting my picture taken with said bottle… seems like a fair deal. Lord knows it wouldn’t do either of us any favours if I was the face of Powerade.

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Now to get on with the serious (who am I kidding) preparations for Jedburgh. Wonder if they’ll have beer part way round? 🙂

Did I mention the Red Arrows popped by?

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*Well, not so much check, more make sure I’m not the only one doing it. Sorry if that was your sculpture…

**Not like a banana split or a terrible running injury. It means you last mile is quicker than your first (or something like that).

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