This was a race that I really enjoyed last year so I had no hesitation in signing up again even if at £25 the entrance fee is a bit steep. I know the Great Run’s are not everyone’s cup of tea but I really enjoy them as the atmosphere and camaraderie among runners is second to none in my opinion.
Before the race I met up with a couple of runners I used to run with at Run North Tyneside before I joined the Striders and we chatted about the race and what times we were hoping to achieve. It was really nice to catch up with them and to see how far they’ve progressed as runners as well, as well as taking part in the cheesy warm up as we were all in the same pen.
As for the race itself I started strongly as we came along Saltmeadows Road and down past Gateshead College, heading towards the Quayside. My plan was to start slow and steady and build up gradually, however as I passed the Sage and came under the Tyne Bridge I still felt strong as I passed old drinking haunts in Buffalo Joes and Baja Beach Club.
The course continued a bit further along Gateshead Quayside before turning back the way we came. It was the stage where I started to hit the wall so to speak and as I headed past the Sage back to Gateshead Stadium I had reverted to run/walking as I had nothing left. Anyone who has done this race before will know about the steep bank with 800 metres left, I didn’t even attempt to run up this as I was running on vapours at this stage.
Once up the bank the race finished with a lap around the track in Gateshead Stadium, where I did my very best Steve Cram/Brendan Foster impression as I crossed the finish line, finishing in 1:03:18 knocking 7 minutes off my time from last year. I was disappointed with this time as I felt confident beforehand that I could achieve the sub 60 but it wasn’t to be. Overall I felt frustrated with myself as I felt I could have achieved this had I ran smarter, still you live and learn and I’m not going to dwell on this.
Would I do this race again next year?. Yeah I probably will as overall it is a good day out and if your new to running and wanting to dip your toe into running it is ideal as it is aimed at all levels and the atmosphere is superb, despite the hefty price fee. However in my opinion I think the course could be relooked at to maybe include the Newcastle side of the quayside and the Millennium Bridge rather than running past Buffalo Joes and Baja Beach Club before turning back. Food for thought for next year maybe?.