13.1 miles. 22 kilometres. 2 hours and 38 minutes. 236 different dogs and over 300 selfies taken.
Looking back, I thought that I would have so much to say or gush about my experience, but now I seem to have run out of words. The Great North Run is great; there’s no doubt about it. And running it is a quintessentially northern thing to do. When you think Newcastle, you think – Angel of the North, the Quayside and The Great North Run.
It is a really cool experience with people, virtually strangers to you, coming out and supporting you, cheering for you and feeding you all the jelly babies you can eat. It’s also a fun experience without any pressure to perform at an elite level – there are plenty of people walking the half-marathon for their chosen charity. It’s judgement-free.
The atmosphere is fun and optimistic. Plenty of runners in silly costumes. Others there make it more challenging such as running with a green wheelie bin on the back or army guys with heavy backpacks. But it’s not intimidating; it’s rather impressive and quite motivating!
The smell of the run can only be described as a mixture of deep heat and sweat – so familiar and strangely comforting.
I think I ran on the day the best I’ve ever have. It was hard to settle into a pace because I was snapping selfies with dogs every few metres. I do think while that added minutes to my time, it kept my spirits up. Half of the challenge is getting through the mental block of running a half marathon, and for me, the few second breaks of petting dogs was all I needed to help me along.
I took over 300 selfies with dogs during the run. Later I counted all the dogs up – I took a selfie with 236 different dogs! If you imagine that I spent about 5 seconds per dog, that’s 19.6minutes added to my time!
The last 5k is absolute hell on earth. When you get to the last 3k it doesn’t get any easier, you get to a hill where you can see the sea, so you think you’re almost there, but then you come down the hill, and it continues to the left for another 3k. At this point, after you’ve run 19k the last 3k feel like an eternity. There is an 800m sign and then another 400m sign on the way to finish. Hardest 800m of the whole half marathon for sure.
I got through it mainly injury-free too. I got some posterior shin splints earlier in the week leading up to the race, but I taped those with a KT Tape, and it did the trick on the day. My IT Band also was fine, and so my right knee survived the race without putting me in excruciating pain. I taped it on the day as well, more so hoping for a placebo effect. In all honesty, it was probably the physio I’ve been doing for the past year that really made the most significant difference. I was also very cautious to not overdo my training especially in the weeks leading up the half marathon – half of it was in fear of irritating my IT Band, and half of it was because I was feeling lazy, hahah.
I feel fresh today, not sore or tired. I did get a horrendous belly ache after the run and the worst shits I’ve had in ages (sorry not sorry about the TMI). Due to that, I’m struggling with a bit of appetite loss, and I’m worried that I might be dehydrated. Not to worry, I’m force-feeding myself and drinking plenty of water!
On a more positive note – thank you so much to everyone who donated to my gofundme, we’ve smashed the £300 goal. You can still donate for a day or two if you’d like to show some love to doggos. Dog’s Trust had 92 runners, and we had raised over £17,000 before the event even happened! Dog’s Trust gives stray and abandoned dogs a second chance. They’re caring for more than 15 000 dogs every year. You can read about their amazing success stories here – https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/success-stories/.