This was my third Simplyhealth Great North Run, a race that brings back memories of thirty years ago when I was a student at Newcastle University. I wasn't a runner then, but now I get to run from the University, through the centre of Newcastle, across the iconic Tyne Bridge and then through Gateshead (where I lived as a student) and on to the sea at South Shields. With over 40,000 runners and an enthusiastic crowd this is a race experience that's hard to beat. I am usually quite locked into my own world as I run, but you can't help but be aware of the cheers and support from the crowds.

Despite the possibility of showers, the rain stayed away and the temperature was ideal. Staying in a hotel just 10 minutes walk from the start made for a stress free lead-up and my start zone of C meant I was far enough forward to be with runners of a similar pace, but not too far forward that I would be tripping over the slower special guests starting in zone A. The standard advice of don't start out too quick is critical for this course. It starts of relatively downhill and busy, so you'll need your energy south of the Tyne, when you can spread out a bit and the climb begins.

I have been using Mbition to train for the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon at the end of October and my fitness and performance has been improving significantly over recent weeks. Having achieved three consecutive parkrun PBs, I knew a half-marathon PB could be on the cards. Everything went to plan, I ran a fairly steady pace, mainly using my heart rate as a guide rather than worrying about GPS pace data from my watch. I had a target of 1:35:00 but actually achieved 1:33:14, six and a half minutes faster than last year!



About Matt

Not known for sport at school, I took up running in my mid-forties. Very soon I caught the running bug and progressed from the Couch to 5K programme, via parkrun, various 10k races and the Great North Run to running marathons and beyond in the UK and overseas. Now in my fifties, I still run fast enough to impress my friends and family, but not fast enough to think I've missed a vocation as an Olympian!

Race History

Follow me