My last half marathon: The Great North Run 2015

Lifestyle

My last half marathon: The Great North Run 2015

Lifestyle

Great north run 2015 1

Hello lovelies! So last weekend I ran the Great North Run for the third (and most likely final) time. As I’ve previously mentioned, we decided to sign up for the run last year so we could raise funds for The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where Finley was being treated for his heart defect. We decided to put together a team – my brother in law (my sisters husband) James, my Dad, my husband James and little old me.

To be honest, as the run drew nearer, I seriously thought I must be off my rocker to have signed up to run a half marathon with a barely one year old baby that doesn’t sleep very well. The training had been pretty tough, and I’d had to cut it back to just one gradually increasing in length run a week. Not the best way to train for 13.1 miles!

Two weeks before the run we did a 10 miler which I managed without too much trouble, so I was quietly confident I’d finish although I knew it would be no where near my previous Great North Run times of 1hr52 (2011) and 2hr7 (2010). As James kept reminding me, I had nothing to prove to anyone having already done the distance twice, and having achieved the sub 2 hour time.

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We decided to sleep over at my parents house on the Saturday night so we could get an early start on Sunday morning. We got ready and headed to South Shields to get parked before catching the shuttle bus to the start in Newcastle.

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We immediately went and waited for the loos and took a group pic before making our way to the starting line. I went back to join my Dad in his pen, for some reason I should have reversed our times when we signed up! It seemed to take forever for the race to start, but we chatted to others and found a couple of other people running for CHUF so it passed fairly quickly, although it was starting to get very hot!

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I was reminded that everyone who does that run has a story for why they are doing it. People can be incredible sometimes :-)

Then we were off! I had the biggest smile on my face, and I have to say I enjoyed it all so much. The Tyne Bridge is a great part of the race. I really surprised myself with my performance running non stop until 8.5 miles. In all of my ‘training’ I’d been doing walk / runs so I was mega chuffed to manage that, and actually enjoy it! In the end the heat and what felt like the continuous bloody hills were just too much and I started the run / walk to the finish line. I’m not a great fan of Lucozade but it saved me that day as I was sweating so much. The showers were also so good and some locals had their hose pipes out as well! I also had a gel in my pocket which I took when I started to walk at 8.5 miles.

When I reached the final stretch I feel felt myself flagging until I saw the CHUF supporters and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so widely while also trying to hold back the tears. It felt like we’d come full circle with Finley’s heart issues and I was just bursting with pride in myself and my amazing family. 

In terms of my time, I just wanted to enjoy the race and not be concerned about that, but I kind of had a rough goal of 2.45 in mind. I finished in 2hrs 40 which I’m over the moon with! I just enjoyed every single second of the race, so much more than I did the first two times I did it. The support along the whole route was amazing and my fellow north easterners really did us proud. 

After the race I headed to the CHUF tent to find James, my Dad, the other James and my Mam and Fin. I was so proud of them all, this was their first half marathon and for my Dad at 55 years old getting a time of 2hrs25 is really impressive. James now has the running bug and is looking forward to more races. His dedication to his training was amazing (he was getting up at 5am to fit in his training runs). My Mam was also fabulous, she took care of Fin and made sure we were all organised!

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After we’d had some cake at the charity stand we walked back to our cars and got changed then sat in the park and ate fish and chips. It was just the best day ever!

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It looks like we will have raised around £2000 for CHUF as we have some offline donations still coming in and both my Dad’s and James’ work are adding in some match funding.

Now that I’ve completed my third Great North Run, and enjoyed it so much, I think it will be my last. Running long distances is not my favourite form of exercise, however I did start to enjoy having some time to myself at the weekend listening to podcasts and I also enjoyed parkrun so I’m hoping to keep up the odd 5k, something I never thought I’d say!

Have you ever ran a half marathon? Would you want to? Did you watch the race on the TV?  

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26 Comments

  1. Pip {Cherries & Chisme}

    I like the contrast in our post names ;) haha.
    It sure was hot wasn’t it? I very nearly went for the lucozade myself! I saw some locals handing out beer too!
    I think you did amazingly, and what an inspiration for Finley to look back on when he’s older. Another reminder that our bodies can achieve wonderful things even in tricky circumstances :)
    Such a shame to have missed you there hopefully catch up soon xxx
    (Also, our charity tent didn’t have cake, maybe I should switch next time!!)

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Glad you enjoyed the run yourself, hopefully we’ll see each other soon!

      Reply
  2. Rachael

    Congrats Laura, that’s amazing!!! I did 2 half-marathons a couple of years ago, I loved them, but not sure I’ll do one again either. I think 10k is probably my maximum these days!!!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Rachael! Yep I think 10K will be the most I’ll be doing for the rest of my life lol ;-)

      Reply
  3. Kim

    Oh Laura! So proud of you :)

    I’m not a runner (I prefer throwing punches and lifting weights), but did a 5km earlier this year and would love to do more. You’ve inspired me to hit the roads!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Kim :-) It’s surprising how much you can come to enjoy it. Loving your new blog, you’ve got me wanting to go hiking!

      Reply
  4. Claire @ Flake and Cake

    HUGE congratulations to you and your family Laura, amazing amount raised and great times too. xx

    Reply
  5. Anna @AnnaTheApple

    CONGRATS!!! Amazing :-) I heard it was very hot indeed, so even more of a challenge.
    I’m glad it went well and though I’m sad you’re not suddenly signing up to 9 million races I get that for some people running isn’t the best thing ever ;-) And what a fantastic amount of money to have raised. Well done to you all!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks so much Anna! Well dare I say I might be signing up for a little 10k next year? I think I have the bug back now I don’t have the pressure!

      Reply
  6. Jess @ One Step Closer

    Well done Laura – it was a ridiculously hot day. Judging by the course temperatures they had flashing up on the boards on the way, it was even hotter than last year and the highest temps I’ve ever known during the race.

    I do love the Great North Run, but I question the safety of it sometimes. They seem determined to fit in more and more people and the course just can’t hold them all at the start. The transport network is also struggling to cope and it was a nightmare for some people getting to/from the race as the whole Metro network went down.

    Congrats to you and your family – you all did incredibly well!

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Jess! It was so hot wasn’t it, I even sun burned my lower legs! Yep, we talked about that afterwards, I know I’ve never been that far back in the race before, but even James and my Bro-in-Law further up front said it was far too congested. I almost tripped over 3 times in the first 5k. Can’t believe the Metro went down, as you say I think they’re pushing it for how much the course and transport infrastructure can take.

      Reply
  7. Mary

    Well done Laura! Such a big achievement to run continuously for the first 8.5 miles, especially if you had only been running once a week in the build up to the race. I think sometimes the atmosphere helps you to give you that little extra on the day.
    Such a fantastic amount of money raised too. Well done all! :)

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Mary, I was super proud of that all things considered. The atmosphere definitely helped!

      Reply
  8. Maria @ runningcupcake

    Hooray well done! I am so pleased that you enjoyed it, and did so well! Of course, the amazing amount of money you raised is fantastic too, but I know you were a bit apprehensive as your runs got longer, so it is so good that the race atmosphere carried you through. Like Anna said, running isn’t for everyone, but I do feel sad when people do things that they don’t enjoy, so I am glad it was such a great day for all the family. That picture of Finley with the medal is so cute! What a lovely way to celebrate how much he was helped too.
    I watched some on TV, but we were meeting Andy’s parents for breakfast, and I thought it started earlier, so in the end I watched the highlights later on.

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Maria! Yes it was a fab day, and I’ve amazed myself my actually starting to like running again! The long distances and the training needed for a half marathon is definitely not my cup of tea, but I did a 5k at the weekend and really enjoyed it. I’m even looking for a jogging buggy so I can run more often!

      Reply
  9. Lauren

    This is amazing Laura, I loved reading this. What an awesome achievement for you and your family and what a lovely family day :) xxx

    Reply
  10. Petra / Be Healthy Now

    You did so well Laura, well done on achieving the time under your goal! I’ve never ran a half marathon and wouldn’t want to because of my funny knees but it’s nice to hear stories like that and what you can do if you set your heart on it.

    Reply
  11. Judy

    What an amazing achievement Laura, well done! I am not into running(preferring Yoga and lifting weights), so no marathons for me, but it’s still inspiring to read. Looks like you had a wonderful day.

    Reply
    • Laura Agar Wilson

      Thanks Judy, I’m definitely not a long distance running fan so that will be my last (I’m with you on the yoga and weights) but it was a lovely day!

      Reply
  12. Louise (@louliveswell)

    Well done Laura! I was on holiday so missed watching the race on TV, although I normally always do. That’s so great that you had a good race and a good day. Go you!

    Louise x

    Reply
  13. Christina

    Congratulations! You’re amazing, all of you x

    Reply

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