Newbie tries the Great North Run


Here's the whole story - hope it's not too long!

Last Christmas, in a fit of enthusiasm, I accepted a ‘challenge’ from a friend to do the 2002 Great North Run.
Since the challenge was offered in a very non-aggressive way, and because I was looking for something to help me get fit, I accepted it. However, it was still with some trepidation as I’d one pretty much no physical activity for 6 years (baby, house business etc!) and before that, my only activity had been cycling.
So, picture the scene – 7 A.M Christmas morning, with presents opened and breakfast on the hob, I go for my first run. 30 minutes of run/walking.
Although things initially went well, I developed a back problem (not running related) in early February. This kept me out of action until mid April at which point I decided I probably didn’t have enough time to prepare for the NGR, so mentally, at least I pulled out.
Once able to start running again, I started out pretty much from scratch. Since then I’ve gradually increased my distance until I managed my first 10K training session last Saturday (1hr on the spot). So, you know how it is, I’m doing it and thinking, “maybe the GNR isn’t out of the question”.

With this in mind, I’m going to (at this late stage) try to enter for a real local 10K run on 18th August, and then continue my GNR training

So here’s the point of posting – am I mad and should my wife take out extra insurance on me Real Soon Now?

Any advice greatly appreciated.



  • Of course you're mad, Mike. That's why you're here. Don't worry about it - you're among soulmates.

    Not only is the GNR within your reach, on present form you might even be up for sub 2 hours. Just increase your training gradually, eat well, sleep well, stretch plenty and don't fall under any buses.

    Best of luck in your 10K on 18th August. Hope it gives you a good dose of the racing bug.

    Hang around!

    Cheers, V-rap.
  • Can we assume that you have already applied for the GNR 2002 ? Or will you have a charity place

  • Hi,

    many thanks for the encouragement.

    I actually applied for my place in January but then did the back in. After that, and until this week, I thought that this year's GNR would be beyond my reach.

    I'm currently working on the accomodation, so here's hoping!

  • Being a newbie myself, it's encouraging to hear about other fools who accepted the same challenge. Thing is, now i've been training for six months, i actually quite enjoy it. Just completed my first road race and quietly contemplating the (dare I say it) London Marathon!
  • I accepted the GNR challenge last year, one of the best experiences of my life, a truly wonderful day. However, the following three days were a tad painful. I'm going in the Cumbrian run this year and maybe the big one next year.

  • Hi Carthorse

    Thanks for letting me know how bad It's going to feel ;-)

    You’re the first GNR ‘victim’ I’ve spoken to, so I’m interested to know what training did you do before the event (I guess, particularly in terms of max distance run)?



  • I'm a bit of a GNR vet now,this year is my 7th straight. 1st time though was the 1st running for 10 years, & with 2 or 3 runs a week & only about 3 or 4 10 milers I managed to do 1hr 55min, so you still have plenty of time to get the training in. Best advice is don't worry too much & enjoy the experience of being in the biggest 1/2 marathon in the world.
    Best of luck


  • Paul, I forgot to ask - what distance was your first race - and did you enjoy it ?

    Baz - thanks for the advice. I'm going for a run (7 miles hopefully) in a few hours time - once my nerves calm down. I was woken rather abruptly at 2:15 by one of our smoke alarms. I've checked around but there's no sign of anything amiss. The alarms are mains powered so it's not a flat battery. Anyway, I'm bit spooked so I'm having trouble getting back to sleep - hence the timestamp on the post!

  • Mikey

    I was wondering why someone was posting messages at 3.29 on a Sunday morning and presumed you were on night shift.

    Although not a new runner I have had so mny injuries in past 2 years I am almost starting from scratch. I have not done the GNR but if experiences of other races are anything to go by you will find that adreneline will get you by the latter stages. I am doing Britol 3 weeks earlier and was about on a par with your time/distance 3 weeks ago. One piece of advice forget about what time you will do until 3/4 way through the race then you won't get dragged into starting too quick..

    Best of luck.
  • Head Gone - thanks. Sounds great advice to me.

    By the way, anyone want a laugh?

    I decided to try an off-road (canal towpath) run for my 7 miler today, so yesterday I used an ordnance survey map and one of those wheel thingies to get an 'out and back' route of reasonable length.

    So, at my turnaround point (3.5 miles), I was clocking around 22 minutes.

    Bloody hell, I thought, the speedwork I did on Tuesday this week *has* paid off.

    Feeling well ahead, I took it easier on the way back, but still arrived back at the start point way too early by which time, I was convinced I'd got my distance measurement wrong somehow.

    So (with some reluctance), I carried on a bit further and back until I'd run 68 minutes.

    When I got home, I checked again. Aaaaarrrgghh!! - I'd measured 7k, not 7 mile. By adding in the extra bit I did at the end, at least I did manage 6.8 miles in total.

    So much for the speedwork ;-)

  • You must have been gutted at first, thinking you were going so well. Still, not a bad effort, especially with the lack of sleep.
    I shouldn't worry too much about starting too fast in the GNR. If you start at the right place; they have boards up based on your expected finish time, you won't be able to go too quickly.
  • From what I've read you'll have no problem getting around and in a good time!.

    I did the GNR last year and fitted what would have to pass as training around relocating from Hampshire to Durham, starting a new job, looking for and buying a new house and going back to college ... despite all that I did get round the GNR route, albeit not in an earth shattering time.

    Foolishly I agreed with my daughter that we should run it again this year for a local charity ... has my training been better ... not at all, through injury, but I will run and I will get round, although this year I'd like to beat the crocodile and giraffe that I'm sure beat me last year, although I did manage to pass the rhino!

    The event is fabulous ... and even when you don't think you can go any further the other runners and the spectators give you just the boost you need.

    Keep on running.
  • Mikey,

    First race was 5 miles (Joy Cann memorial for anyone in Leics)which was completed in about 41 mins. The experience was good and the buzz at the finish was what, I guess, most competetition runners of all levels do it for. I will be entering as many road races as possible for the remainder of the summer.

    The one problem I do have is going further. I am running up to seven miles in training, but really feel it at the end. If anyone can suggest anything that might help add a couple more miles...? Do i slow down the pace or just keep plugging away? Any suggestions gratefully received.
  • Oh yes, and the user name's changed as well. Regards.
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