This was a
brilliant day. I arrived early at the start, and managed to have a walk
about before the masses started to arrive.
Because when I entered in January, my best ˝ marathon time was Lake
Vyrnwy (2:55), I had been allocated a place in “The Pink zone” (at the
back!!).I had heard some horror stories about other people doing the GNR
and having no room to run for the first 3 miles, so I made sure I was at
the front of my zone, next to the end of the green zone which is the
next zone up.
As per tradition,
it took about 20 minutes to shuffle to the start line, but once we were
there, space seemed to appear and I had plenty of room to run at the
pace that I wanted. I had taken a “2:20” pace band from the Lucozade
Sport tent, as this was my goal. I managed 2:30 in the Birmingham and
Black Country Half, and was sure I could do a bit better than that now.
A few miles in I felt great, and was well ahead of my pace band. The
weather was being kind, sunny but only about 7 degrees Celsius, so no
chance of overheating today. Even though you are running on motorways,
there is never a boring moment as there is so much to see, so many
different runners and different costumes, the time just flew by.
At 6 miles I was still ahead of my pace band, and at 10 miles I was a
long way ahead of it, and still
Between the 6th
and 8th miles was where I caught the main congestion of runners – I
think I must have hit the stragglers from the other zones, and we had to
stop 3 times to let ambulances in to carry off the injured. The last few
miles lots of people had come out of their houses setting up impromptu
stalls for water, ice lollies, biscuits etc, which was very kind and
The best bit for me was as I turned on to the sea front at South
Shields, the Red Arrows very kindly decided to start their display, and
it looked fantastic. So, I managed all this in 2hrs:13min, and I have to
say, I felt quite ok afterwards.
There is definitely something special about the atmosphere of this race
and I will be back next year, I had a brilliant time!
Raj Sanghera writes:
I got on really well - we stayed at the Roker View guest house and my
husband enjoyed the Full English breakfast again! I had my muesli just
after 6.30am and my cup of coffee and before we knew it was time to
catch the bus to Newcastle - drove to the car parks which were so busy
(very different from last year)
Got to the start by 9.30 am and did meet a another
"Dudley Lady" who's name I don't know (apologies) but she knew mine -
wished her good luck and made my way to the start.
Went into my pen
and felt very alone until two other runners started to tell me about
who they were and why they were running - everybody has their own story
to tell and everyone is different but everyone there makes the time and
effort to be there.
As you know, I
did it with all my friends last year (Pam
Edmunds/Gail Edwards/Tracey Bennett/Cheryl Allman) all missed greatly
especially for the socialising!!! I'd also like to say a "thank
you" to Isobel who's cheer in the last mile really did spur me on!
As I'd collected my goodie bag and was looking for
my husband I met another Dudley Lady "Natalie Dellar" who'd done an
excellent time of 2.13 so well done to her! I personally beat my last
year's time by 4 minutes which may not seem a lot (27 minutes to 23
minutes) but to me personally was a hell of an achievement!!!