After a week out of the office recovering... I'm finally able to type and wanted to share my experiences from the Great North Run!
I had a very early start on Sunday morning driving up to Newcastle where I knew it was going to be a beautiful day as the sun was rising.
Having arrived at the Hilton Gateshead Newcastle at around 7.45am, the reception was buzzing. All the Elite athletes were staying there, along with the coaches, trainers, press and managers. You couldn't move for all the equipment and people, but there was a great atmosphere and anticipation building.
When I finally walked a good mile or so to get to the start area for the run and I'd never seen so many people! All shapes and sizes and various fitness levels, including of course the Elite runners and wheelchair competitors. It was 18 degrees and sunny before we had even started, no matter what level you were at we all knew it was going to be tough.
After a lot of long (seemingly never ending roads) and just before the half way mark I spotted Denise Lewis spectating. I said a 'Hi' (well tried!) and and she hit back with a smile and a 'keep going, you're doing great!' which was a big boost and kept me smiling for the next mile or so. The crowds were amazing all the way. People were giving away sweets, ice pops, water and orange wedges to keep the runners going. Kids were doing 'high fives' and were delighted when you actually got involved with it!
The last mile felt the longest... the sea breeze was a huge relief, the crowds were five deep and the red arrows were above our heads. The cramp had kicked in and I was starting to get a little emotional. I could then see the finish line and my legs were like jelly.
Once over it felt like a weight had been lifted and I couldn't wait to sit down and have a drink!
(Oh... and I also met Stephen Sambu, the elite athlete who famously ran the Boston half marathon in 1hr and 41 seconds! ).
I enjoyed the challenge and I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year. Let me know if you want to join me!