I woke up at eight o clock after a not-too bad nights sleep. Quite tired though, so had a coffee and then got dressed. (I don’t mean I drank my coffee naked, that’d be dangerous, I mean I drank my coffee wearing my bed stuff then got dressed into my running stuff.)
I wasn’t hungry but Sarah made me eat some porridge. Probably a good thing because I’d need the energy. She also gave me a cereal bar but I think that’s still in my rucksack.
There were three of us doing the run, myself, Sarah’s Uncle (Nigel) and Sarah’s Dad (Ironman Tony.) Nigel turned up around 8.45am so we put our stuff in the car and set off (after I finished my porridge.)
The race was being held in Birchwood, near Warrington, about an hours drive away. We had a map that the organisers had sent, and also used a sat-nav. About 45minutes into the journey the map and sat-nav were at odds as to which junction to take, so we got a little lost, stopped, decided we’d gone too far, turned around, then found our way.
Arriving at the Birchwood shopping centre, we were met with a C full of runners. (the C stands for car park.) There were runners from lots of different running clubs jogging around and warming up on the grass, loads of different running vests and colours everywhere. They seemed a lot more serious about the race than at Gateshead four weeks back. I noticed a few people wearing running shirts from the Fetch Everyone website I use.
‘Haribo?’ Said Nigel.
‘What?’ I said.
‘Haribo sweets, for energy half way round.’
I laughed and took a few for the race. Tony didn’t take any. Not sure if he ate them when he did the Ironman either. Maybe not all kids and grown ups love them so. Before long they were announcing that the race was about to start, so we waited about two thirds of the way towards the back of the pack. The gun went off, and so did we.
It took a few minutes for everyone to get into a stride, and then we were in quite a cluster of runners. Tony sped off straight away and I didn’t see him again til the end of the run. I ran alongside Nigel for a bit but chatted to a bloke on my right and when I looked back to my left Nigel wasn’t next to me anymore.
When I looked back to my right, the bloke wasn’t there either. Don’t think I was sweating by then, so maybe i just smelled a bit funny.
I managed to run without stopping to the 3k marker, and then had a drink of water. The day was heating up and so didn’t want to over do it. When I do a run near home I stop every mile or so to cross a road so figured a ten second walk for refreshments would be fine.
I read that this course is flat pretty much all the way around, which it is, but I think that they should also mention the number of roundabouts that you pass along the way. If you’re into roundabouts, I don’t think you could find a better run.
Also, the route is on the main road most of the way around, and so if you like to hold up traffic at every turn, this ones for you. None of the drivers seemed to mind waiting (not the ones at the front of the queue anyway) and most of the pedestrians clapped as you passed. There were plenty of mashalls offering encouragement and directions, and quite a few police too.
I got into quite a good pace, keeping an eye on my watch, and knew that I’d be somewhere near the hour for the 10k. After the water station, however, the sun put his warmest hat on and most people around me slowed down. I was slowing down too and taking walking breaks more frequently, when I wiped the sweat from my forehead and wiped my hand on my shorts, that I felt something in my pocket. Slightly worried that I’d forgotten to take my keys out, I put my hand in my pocket and found a sticky mess of Haribo. I still ate them.
Towards the end of the run you pass over some motorway bridges and so it adds in a few unexpected inclines. The bonus is the declines on the other side, and who doesn’t like running down hill?
I was keeping an eye on my time and when I got to the 9k marker I knew that I wouldn’t be beating an hour. I still ran as fast as I could towards the end and received a nice towel as a finishers prize. Tony was waiting there, and Nigel turned up before too long. It started raining then, which was very refreshing and welcomed.
Later on that night, Tony said that his result and Nigel’s result were both on the website, but mine wasn’t. I emailed the organisers and told them that it was missing. Obviously they would be busy with other peoples results so didn’t want to rush them.
The next day my results still weren’t on, so emailed again and got this reply:
“Hi Mark, (spelt my name wrong)
It appears you wore your Great North Run timing chip instead of the one we sent you. We’ve managed to get your time, and you finished in 01:02:04.”
Wow. I felt like a right prat. Pleased with my time though, six minutes quicker than the Gateshead 10k which is about a 10% improvement! Hopefully I can put in a good showing at the Great Yorkshire Run in two weeks and get under an hour.
Maybe, if I wear the right timing chip.