What a truly epic weekend!
The Great North Run is a unique event. If I am honest, I do not actually care much for the route, it seems like a long slow climb all the way to South Shields. I do not really like the train journey home that seems to take forever and is always delayed! The bling is ‘ok’ … the t-shirts are either too big or too small and the goody bag is a waste of time (who puts a tub of tuna in a after race good bag?!). It is a nightmare getting back to Newcastle after you finish and can take several hours. All in all it is a bit of a nightmare, yet it is my favourite event of the year! I absolutely LOVE it!
For the me the Great North Run (GNR) starts the week before. The banter with my best mates Matt and Billy begins, my brother is getting ready and we are planning our boys trip. Friday comes and my brother arrives. Saturday morning already and we are at Stevenage station ready to go! The train journey up to Newcastle is epic, just banter and laughs the whole way!
We arrive at Newcastle and check in. This year was amazing as Sue (who is a legend) had organised two meet ups from the guys in our Communities. First up this year was a meal at the Marco Polo, 40 people who hadn’t met before all sitting down and having dinner together. Next up we moved over to the Slug & Lettuce and loads more people came along and we had the best pre-race night ever!
The morning of the race arrives and we head to Exhibition Park for the mother of all meetups! There was so much pink in the park it was amazing! We managed to grab the biggest picture ever whilst everyone queuing for the toilet looked on! It was lovely to see people who were on their own or didn’t have a pen buddy meeting up and chatting … this is what the Fordy Runs Community is all about! We all headed down to the pens and got ready for the off!
I have never seen so many pics and posts on Facebook at an event it was crazy! This year was again warm, we have been so lucky the last few years with great weather. Billy and Karen raced off and I had the pleasure of running with Richard. He paced us perfectly through the whole event.
First up the oggies, then the Tyne Bridge. The hills then start but you don’t realise as the crowds cheering and shouting your name makes you just forget the climb. You hear the bands, the drummers, you high five the kids all of which just keeps you going! Boom you are already half way and I am thinking about seeing Elvis! Yes Elvis he is at mile 11 and if he doesn’t put a smile on your face you are in the wrong race! Once you’ve cleared Elvis you have to prepare for the roar as you hit South Shields seafront. The noise is electrifying and somehow you pick up the pace. At 800 metres we bump into Karen who has lost Billy and the three of us race upto the finishing line! We all crossed together and finished the best half marathon in the world!
After we get our medals and thank the volunteers we are already talking about next year! It is like a drug, when you hit that seafront in South Shields it hooks you like no other event. I am lucky as I get to take part with all the guys in the Fordy Runs Community and spending the weekend with my brother and best mates makes it even more special. I love the Great North Run so much, I would even just walk it if that is all I could manage it truly is epic!
I will see you again in 2020 Newcastle …. Thanks for being awesome (again)