Road to the Great North Run 2021

This years Great North Run has been a long time coming. The last time I did it was in 2018 and I swore I would never do it again. Then in 2019 I missed it. I was jealous of everyone doing it and I missed how toned the training makes my legs (priorities). So I signed Dave and I up to do it again in 2020. Which of course was cancelled. So needless to say the road to the Great North Run 2021 has not been a smooth one.

Hands up who is the shittiest wife ever?! That would be me, because not only did I sign ave up to do the run with me, I then went and pulled out 2 months before race day due to a niggling knee injury. Don’t get me wrong, I am able to run a little bit, but little and often is definitely my vibe at the moment, there’s no way this old knee would get me round 13.1 miles without it taking me about six hours and cause a world of pain.

I’m gutted and relieved in equal measure. Gutted because this is the one year that the route has changed, with the finish line in Newcastle instead of South Shields Living just 3 miles outside of the city centre means that is so much more convenient for us; we can walk home, are at least pub crawl through Gosforth home! I much prefer and out and back route as opposed to a point to point, mentally it’s easier and you get to run over the Tyne Bridge twice. And the winners t-shirt this year is gorgeous! Maroon is so my colour.

I am however relieved in the sense that the staggered start time means that Dave would have started at about 10.15 and me about midday. He’d be finished probably not long after I’d just started and there would be lots of waiting around for him. So the new plan was, I see him off on the metro, come home, pack up some provisions, and walk to the winners village on the town moor to wait for him. By the time I walked in there and soak up some of the atmosphere, the timing should be just about spot on. I’m also relieved that I don’t actually have to run the bloody thing this year. That’s a whole load of pressure that’s been off me for the last 2 months for sure.

Dave sadly was plagued by a calf injury which was bothering him right up to race day so he was on full on rest for about a fortnight before the run (there will be more on that later!). Morning of the race was pretty smooth though; metros were all on time and from what Dave said, it was actually really well organised at the start without too much waiting around. He was in wave 5 and when he arrived they asked all waves 1-8 to start lining up. So smooth it as actually that he managed to start about 10 minutes before his predicted start time, which meant I needed to stop faffing on with my hair and get a move on.

It took me just over an hour to stroll into town, where I got to see the Red Arrows go over. The Great Run app seemed to have been improved massively since the last time we needed to use it. Often with these live tracking things there a bit of a delay but it seemed to be working pretty much in real time and he successfully crossed the finish line in 1hr 55mins and 7 seconds. But how did he find it?

Well, as I said the out and back is much easier and he said that everything north of the Tyne Bridge was great to run through. Running through town on the way back was brilliant. The problem with the end though is that it’s way more hilly than the descent down to South Shields seafront and the flat route along to the finish. The staggered start meant he was finished and in the pub by 12.30pm and the pubs in Gosforth were surprisingly quiet. I guess unless you live out that way, you’ve no reason to be heading in that direction, which was a massive benefit to us.

The only thing that really hampered the day was that, with about a mile to go, the calf injury Dave had been experiencing took its toll, and he felt something snap. Thankfully he was a mile from the finish not the start otherwise I may have been a completely different story. There’s going to be some months of rest before he’s able to run on it again I think.

So, would I do it again. I’m kind of not bothered to be honest. I’ve done it twice so it’s already ticked off the bucket list. The only thing that might tempt me would be if they kept the route ending in Newcastle for a few years. It would be cool to say I’ve done both routes. Other than that though, I did not miss that journey back from South Shields this year so think my Great North Run days are probably behind me now.

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