Great North Run – 2014

Report submitted by Andrew Heppell

IMG_51665173084287_resizedThe day started quite early, meeting at the sports centre for the bus journey down to the start. Straight away it was evident that it was going to be a very hot sunny day which could of had an impact on me and all the runners taking part in the race. As we got to the start the mass of runners started to assemble and it was time to do a warm up. I got into the start pen and at this point I was worrying if I had prepared correctly for it (have I hydrated and fuelled myself enough?). It wasn’t long before the gun went off, within minutes I was over the start line I was off and running, luckily the mass of runners in front of me stopped me from setting off at a pace quicker than I had trained for (the temptation at the start is always to go fast even though you know you should run at a pace you’ve trained to do). It wasn’t long before I was at the Tyne bridge and I heard the first voices of support coming from fellow bounders standing on the side.

The miles slowly started to build 2, 3, 4. I was running comfortably and bang on race pace for me. Somewhere between miles 5 & 6 I saw some dodgy looking men in Lycra on the roadside, who in turn saw me and give me shouts of encouragement and support.  For some reason though, I thought this was a good time to speed up a little. I got to the half way point slightly faster than planned. It was time to tell myself to slow back down to my pace, I still had a long way to go.

The heat was starting to get to me a little bit, all I could think of was taking on more fluids than I normally would and I grabbed a couple of ice pops that people were handing out on the roadside. Miles 8, 9 & 10 seemed to pass quickly, but unfortunately I needed a toilet break.  I suppose all the water I took on board had to come out at some point other than sweating it out. After I quickly got back into my stride I was only thinking about what was left of the race and not what I had already done. After all, it was only a parkrun distance left to go. It was time to gently up my pace and I soon came across the water station manned by the Bounders. To me this couldn’t have come at better time. I knew how supportive and encouraging they would be as I ran through, and I would like to say they didn’t disappoint.  This give me that extra bit of confidence to go on finish the race as strong as I could.

Not long after the water station, I approached the big hill going down to the coast, and for some reason this was the section of the race which seemed to take the most out of my legs. With only a mile to go it was time to dig deep and push all the way to the finish line. As the finish line approached I was looking at the watch again hoping to be on target. Across I went in a time of 1:37:39. I would have been over the moon with that time on a day when conditions suited running more, but on a hot day like that, for me is by far my biggest running achievement to date – 20 mins quicker than last year’s time.

A lot of people who I’ve spoken to about this have all said amazing things, but although I have done the hard work to get to this point, I would like to point out that it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Stewy Bell, and also advice from the other coaches and more experienced runners within the club. Also the support on the day from the Bounders was awesome, as it always is.

Well done everyone, what a fantastic day it was.

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