Great North Run 2013

Sunday, September 16th, 2001
Helicopters hovering in the distance.
Realisation that it’s Great North Run day.
Conversation with a good friend.
Over the next few months, thoughts become ideas become plans…

Fast forward exactly 11 years

Sunday, September 16th, 2012
Here I am, watching the finish of the elite men’s race.
It’s been such a pleasure and a privilege to make so many great friends through this event,  many of you are running now, even as I type. Had anyone told me in 2001 that I would have 9 half marathons to my name, including 5 GNRs by now, I would have laughed, but that is exactly what has happened.

Although 2006 was the last time I crossed the line at South Shields, the GNR is still special to me. I don’t know how many times I’ve posted my race plan, but it’s always hugely gratifying when people say it has helped or ask for it to be posted. So here, by request, my GNR race plan to start the 2013 thread. And, can I offer sincere and humble thanks to all those who have said I should start the thread this year.



  • XL's 4-part run plan

    Run one  -  5 miles. (DON'T think about anything further) Huge crowds, great atmosphere, bands. Take it steady, not too fast, you've run five miles or further loads of times. Enjoy the spectacle, and remember you are part of it. Those inspirational pictures of thousands running across the Tyne Bridge; Red Arrows trailing the red, white and blue vapours; you're in them this year. Yes, you're in the Great North Run, the world's biggest half marathon. Enjoy!

    Run two - 3 miles. Forget the 5 behind you, they're done. Think only of the next three. Three miles? Piece of cake, you've done 9, 10, 11 .. much more in training. These three are all downhill, wheeeeeee !! Great news for those of you after PBs for the event, or even if it's your first time and you have a target. Go for it here, within reason. Unfortunately, the road narrows, so you may notice it feeling a little more congested. Be careful.

    Run three - 3 miles. SLOW DOWN. This is where you need your mental toughness. Console yourself with the fact that even the élites slow down here. It's a bit of a slog up the John Reid Road etc and there's not much to enjoy, but hey, if it was easy, the medal wouldn't be as important to you would it? If you're a run/walk person this is where you may want to be taking extra walks, and psych yourself up, but don't start thinking about the finish yet. Just get to 11 miles.

    Run four - 2.1 miles. That's nowt ! Of course you're tired but you're nearly there. Now, start to tell yourself that you've done it (almost) the goody bag is waiting for you, go and get it. Gan canny down that bank! The last mile and a bit up the sea front is fantastic, and yes, it’s more than a mile. Huge crowds yelling at you, the end is nigh. Let your spirits fly, even if you're knackered. You can stop soon. If you're after a time, push, you know you are fit, you have prepared well, and as tired as you will feel when you cross the line, the elation will speed your recovery. Well done, you've finished the GREAT NORTH RUN 2013. Get your medal and wear it with pride.

  • Gosh, its very quiet on here.  i wonder why?

  • I can't imagine! The bonus of me having to withdraw on race morning is that I actually get to post on page 1 of the new thread. Silver linings and all that!

    The elite races were good, shame they don't show more of them. 

  • Yeah, made it onto the first page for the first time ever image

    XL's plan is always a great start to the new thread.

    CC2, gutted that you had to withdraw but as you've said, you have bigger targets to reach.

    I'm looking forward to hearing all the stories later. Have a drink fo rme this evening.

  • Inspirational stuff XL. This is the closest I'll get to the front of anything running wise!!!

    Sorry to read about you having to pull out this morning CC2. Hope that your in better fettle for your race in a few weeks time.

    Hi WTS are we going to see you at Blaydon and GNR next year?
  • After the disappointment of not starting, it has been great to sit and watch this wonderful event. Fingers crossed I make it through the ballot for 2013!
  • XL said I should post on the first page of the new thread (and who am I to disobey the GNR Guru?)  Maybe this will inspire me to run another half marathon sometime in the next year?


  • Hi Wee Col. Hopefully be up for Blaydon again next year (cheering if not actually running), although if I'm quick enough to get an entry in anything could happen! image. Would love to make the GNR too, but it all gets a bit expensive me being so far south.


  • Hi pengwyn, have a lovely time this evening.


  • Thank you - I am sure I will. We will miss you, though!


  • Isn't 13.1 miles a long way. How quickly I forget!

    More post race comments to follow later until then ill just say; the Great North Run is amazing.
  • Woohoo did i make it onto first page ?
  • Yes i did image

    My race reports on the 2012 thread but just to say a massive pb for me of 1:35:31, bloody loved it this year and shows what an i jury free year can do for you !
  • I'm putting myself in the ballot for 2013 as soon as it opens- I loved watching it on tv this morning!

  • Well done sarah, its an amazing event and i'll be back next year for number 5
  • It looks like such a good atmosphere! image 

  • Have I made it to the front page??  Hurrah if I have.  Best GNR ever for me ... but I'll report it on the old thread if you don't mind ...

  • Had a great time cheering the runners at the 12 mile marker,hands are aching off clappingimage
  • I'm posting this on here too, just in case people just come straight here: 

    (oh, and apologies image)


    Well, that was the best GNR ever for me - and I was really quite apprehensive beforehand, as I hadn't really done any 'proper' speedwork at all this year, other than The Blaydon Race, and some 'dig deep!' training at Thunder Run in the summer.

    Met up in our usual spot under the footbridge with Shrek, Mandie, Steve, Stringy, mr sj and Andy Smithsky (who was loitering shyly until I brought/dragged him into the fold).  Then we were later joined by James, Dasher Dart and RLTW (who I felt a bit sorry for ... she'd turned up as Abide With Me finished and had me crying on her shoulder ... sorry RLTW image )

    We went our separate ways at about 10-ish?  and I disappeared into the bushes with my bucket ... 

    Then it's the usual waiting around, the half-hearted aerobics session with that fitness trainer guy that no-one really takes seriously and the fly-over from the Red Arrows which is just amazing!!  It's worth entering just for that moment alone.

    Race started - I crossed the line, started my watch, said a little prayer to my mam and dad, and put my 'game face' on, which looks like this: image  Unfortunately I realised I needed the toilet (what is it with my bladder??!) but thought I'd hang on until Gateshead Stadium.  Watched enviously as all the blokes hit the flyover and legged it for the walls to pee - lucky buggers!  Passed people with pen D numbers who were walking at this point - about half a mile in image.

    By the time I got to the Stadium though I decided against paying a visit as I was going really well (too fast for me, but I felt pretty relaxed) and didn't want to muck up my pacing.  At mile 4, I passed a couple walking in the middle of the road - complete with those walking stick thingies.  I turned as I passed them and noticed they hand pink numbers.  Now - what gives there?  They started (or should have) behind me, were clearly walking (no disrespect to them, but they didn't look like natural born runners) and I was averaging 7:55 m/miles at this point, yet at mile 4 they were ahead of lots of fast runners?  Hmmmm ....

    tbc ... 

  • At mile 6 I wanted to get across the road for some water, so started - carefully - moving across with lots of 'excuse me's.  However, there was a young lad with a walkman on who was obviously oblivious to what was going on around him and we caught each others legs.  He staggered a bit, and I got hold of him to stop him falling ... and promptly went flying myself image.  I honestly thought it was game over at this point as I'd landed quite hard on my side and it hurt quite a bit.  Also felt a bit stupid with lots of 'Ooohs' from the crowd.  Limped over to get a bottle of water, grimacing but thinking 'At least I'm just a mile from home if I have to drop out' but tentatively kept going.  My left thigh was sore, but thankfully it wasn't a knee so I just tried to get back to my pace.  Passed Oblivious Headphones chap and gave him evils image.

    All too soon we came to The Nook - usually this is quite tough, but today it was a nightmare.  All thoughts of needing the toilet had by this time disappeared and I just gritted my teeth and got in with it.  Even the run down the bank was tough, I found, and that last mile was a blimmin' killer.  It just goes on and on and on and on.

    However, I knew by my pace that I was on for a pb, so like mr sj said, it was just a case of seeing how much I could pb by.  Crossed the finish line and stopped the watch - it showed 1:46:22.  Couldn't believe it, I'd beaten my GNR pb by 9 minutes, and my half marathon pb by 4 minutes.

    Got my goody bag, and went to the Sanddancer, where I ran into Dasher Dart.  He very kindly bought me a drink and we spent about an hour chatting as he waited for his mate to finish.  I left him still waiting for him (and getting a bit worried!) so I hope he's ok, DD?

    Unlocked my bike and cycled 5.5 miles back home ... this was actually more tiring on the legs than the half marathon was!

    Feeling really good now ... but my thigh is so very sore.  I may have to self-medicated with a glass of wine or two tonight image

  • Woohoo - page 1 done.
    No apologies needed, Shielsy. I can't think of a better, more fitting report to close the opening page of the new thread.

    Lovely to see some new names there. Hope you'll be around in 12 months time.
    And great to see some returning familiar names too. Don't be strangers !!

    What a great day this has been. Looking forward to closing it in the traditional way.

  • Congrats everyone who has run today. I'm definately doing 2013. I did the GNR in 2009 and 2010 when I was quite unfit. I'm going back in 2013, feel inspired image

  • Only another 12 months to wait now, counting down the days already.

  • Well done mr sj and Shielsy on those impressive PBs.  Conditions looked good for running (but not spectating) on TV.  I feel sorry for the person who thinks they've just found a brand new bucket near the dual carriageway image.  What is it about Shielsy and falling over??  I thought I saw Shrek in the background as they were interviewing a celeb (who's name I've instantly forgotten).  Were you wearing an orange top?

  • Welcome aboard, Claire. The year will fly by.

  • Well, what a start to the thread. 

    Would be great if the new folks who have beaten me to the first page would stick around and join us for the build-up to the next one.  How long is it to go? image

    Shielsy - so many emotions at the start.  Sadness for those we've lost, excitement for the challenge ahead, pride at just being there.  If I'd arrived a bit sooner I would probably have joined you whilst thinking of my bruv and my mum image

    Thoroughly enjoyed today.  Great conditions for runners. I like drizzle so long as I've started running.  Perfect temperature throughout. 

    Took ages to get across the start line.  Red arrows were well gone and I was still waiting to get going!  Could have done with the loo but thought I could ignore it.  Running felt quite strong but kept thinking I coulde focus better if I didnt want the loo.  Got to around mile 5 and saw a really small queue for loos - 2 mins tops and I felt so much better (and about 2lbs / 2 pints lighter,sorryimage -  Kicked on and found myself overtaking people constantly.  Frustrated by the lines of walking, running dead slow etc. I know people have to do it - just not in rows please!  Can't believe how quickly the miles passed by.  Because we had started late, I found myself watching the Red Arrows from mile 11 - just one more mile would get me to the sea front, but would they wait for me?  They did image and I enjoyed the rest of the show even closer.  Felt certain of a PB but also felt like shoving a few people out the way (sorry image).  I suppose it's just the way GNR is, but they really break your stride.  Anyway, very happy to report finishing in 2:21:38 which is a course PB by 5:28 mins and an all time half PB by 2:20 mins image  Chuffed I am  imageimage

  • I made page 2!!!!

    I enjoyed meeting you all under the bridge today - even if Shielsy missed me off the list image

    Hope the thigh feels better soon Shielsy! That's a fantastic PB lady! image

    And well done too, to mr sj - great run for you too - was that a PB for you too?

    CC2 - sorry you had to drop out but if it means a great result in a month, then it'll be worth it.

    Hope everyone had a great time today! image

  • RLTW - now I have finally stopped lurking, fully intend to stick around!  Must have been frustrating at times today - I was amazed watching it how many green numbers were crossing the line with orange and white.  Some definite fibs re predicted times methinks.  Anyhoo, fingers crossed that next year I won't have the lurgy and can run in my local race.

    Am v jealous to have missed it - some great times today and would have been great running conditions for me.  Haven't enjoyed the heat of the previous years (although that massive downpour last year was most welcome).

    Well done to everyone - get your feet up and enjoy a glass of something cold and wet image

  • Well mr sj mentioned PB of the Day, but choosing one would be as difficult as selecting the Sports Personailty of the Year this year. Another FANTASTIC run. Huge congratulations, RLTW. I'm absolutely thrilled for you, well done. image

  • Muckers Fuddle - Terrific!  Tell us all about yourself image

    XL - Thank you - So looking forward to Royal Parks Half on 7th October.  That was where I achieved my previous PB.  Much flatter than here too.

    I better go shower - places to be, people to meet image

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