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I still can’t believe I have NOT done the Great North Run. Every year I say I am going to do it, and every year it creeps up on me, and I somehow miss it.

But never fear, we always have an awesome team of TFTR ladies taking part, and this year was no different.

So today’s Guest Post review is from Kate Sheard.

…And 2019…I simly must try this epid race.

Sunday 9 September 2018 was my third Great North Run in three years.

I first ran it in 2015 to raise money with some running buddies for FOP friends I was very under prepared in my training, for what to expect and the size of the race and it being my first half marathon but the atmosphere from the locals was amazing and that’s what keeps me coming back.

The second year was very different, it had turned into a girlie weekend with my Bradford running buddies staying in a caravan and having lots of craziness. Two of them were dresses up as inflatable unicorns and the morning of the race was very different to the previous year. It was like being with two celebrities we got interviewed on local tv and radio and even on BBC Sport. So this year had a lot to live up too.

I injured my ankle back in June so hadn’t been able to train like I wanted too the furthest I had run was 10k. I wouldn’t advise trying to complete a half marathon with no training but I was determined to get to the end no matter what. I wanted that bling I wanted to complete my third Great North Run and seventh half marathon. I knew the course, I knew what to expect from the race but what I didn’t know was if my ankle and my body were going to hold out.

We made our way up to the North East on Friday to the caravan ready for a fab girlie weekend with a little race thrown in for good measure. This year my friends were going be inflatable ducks. The Saturday is always spent with them customising the outfits and drinking Prosecco and carb loading I’m not a big drinking so I left it to the experts.

On the morning of the race we arrived in Newcastle at 8am with a bit of a walk to the start area. The taxi dropped us off pointed us in the right direct and said follow the crowds, last year we got the bus so we came in a different way so were a little disorientated.

First job was a visit to the baggage buses I was in Pink J but moving back to run with a friend in Pink K so our bus was the furthest away we left the ducks dropping off their bags at the nearer buses then walked back to meet them. Outside our bus I bumped into the lovely Linda from The Clubhouse had a bit of a chat and a photo. We had to get back to the bridge for 9am as the ducks were going to be interviewed. By this time the crowds were starting to build the race doesn’t start until 10:40 but you need to get there early to get to the baggage buses have lots of loo stops and make your way to your pen.

Like the baggage buses Pink J and K are right at the back I think I’d done 10,000 steps before the race had even started. One last trip to the loo in the start pen before the race started. Then the heavens opened as we were making our way to the start, it was glorious sunshine beyond the start line but we were about half a mile away from that we quickly grabbed some of the jackets that had been discarded by other runners so we managed to keep fairly dry. The Red Arrows flew over and when we finally crossed the start the clock read 43:45 so it had taken us over 40 minutes to get to the start. I think that’s the longest yet and we weren’t even right at the back.

We were on the left so went under the underpass if you are on the right you go up and over which is meant to be quicker but hillier. I also go on the left because of the echoing of Oggy Oggy Oggy, Oi Oi Oi that starts off the amazing atmosphere of the race, before you know it you are running across the Tyne Bridge. The rest of the race route is a bit dull to look at but the supporters and the other runners & walkers are what makes it.

My other favourite point of the race is just before mile 12 just after the killer hill between mile 10 and 11 which we walked, you get the first glimpse of the sea. It’s still a long way to the finish 1.1 miles, some people get carried away and set off sprinting you’ve got to remember to pace yourself. They count it down 800m, 400m and 200m it seems to go on forever before you get to cross the finish line. I thought I was going to be sick my friend and I sprinted across the line holding hands arms up in the air, we’d done it we’d got to the end and not a bad time of 3:16:43 all things considering with a few pit stops along the way.

We picked up our tee shirts and goodie bags and headed back up to the finish line to wait for the ducks.

It’s one of my favourite races I love the atmosphere and it really does cater for everyone from the elite athletes to those that are at the back of the pack. The only downside is getting out of South Shields make sure you plan your escape. We booked a taxi that then decided to let us down last minute at 4.30pm telling us to get the ferry. It wasn’t fun standing in the queue for nearly 2 hours but apparently, The Metro would have been worse oh well it’s another story for next year

Do you remember the GNR when we were stood in the ferry queue for 2 hours?!

I would recommend everyone doing the Great North Run at least once. I think it’s much better the second time round when you know what to expect and have gained a few top tips from the previous year or years.

Brilliant write up, Kate will you make it 4 years in a row?

If you would like to join our wonderful community of runners, check out www.toofattorun.co.uk/join-the-clubhouse

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