As my regular readers will know I lost over 10 stone in weight without any exercise at all. I got to my weight loss target in June 2015. I continued to eat healthily and not exercise, well until the end of April 2016 when I decided I wanted to run! I set myself a challenge to run the Great North Run, a popular half marathon (13.1 miles) to raise money for the Samaritans charity. This is a charity close to my heart and one I was passionate about helping so there way no way I was going to not complete this challenge I had set myself. So I started running, building up gradually at the end of April. The Great North Run took place on 11th September. You can read more about why I chose to support the Samaritans and the task I had set myself here.
From the start of my wish to complete the Great North Run for the Samaritans my aim was just that, to complete the run whether that be by walking or running or a mixture of both. I aimed to be able to run most of it but didn’t know how my training would pan out. After all going from zero exercise to half marathon in 20 weeks is quite a tall order isn’t it! What I didn’t foresee was the problems I encountered with my asthma and a few occasions where an injured muscle stopped me running for a week or so. In fact I didn’t even really take into account that moving house during these 20 weeks would also be a strain on my time!
|Me with my medal at the end of Mansfield 10k|
The only race I had completed before the Great North Run was Mansfield 10k which was on the 21st August. Around 541 people competed in this and I finished in 1hr 6 minutes and 26 seconds which I was very pleased with. My overall place was 420/541 which I was so proud of as I was so worried about being last and a long way behind everyone else! This race set me in good stead for the Great North Run as it gave me a little experience of the race environment and running with a lot of other people but of course the 541 in Mansfield doesn’t really compare to the 57000 at the Great North Run.
The night before the Great North Run I was very nervous but myself and Stuart (who was also running) met up with some friends the evening before for a soft drink and chat which definitely helped me calm my nerves! Having laid out my clothes ready to run and packing and repacking my running bag and my post race bag I was ready to sleep. I slept well and woke up ready for the challenge!
|Me at the Great North Run, taken just before the finish line!|
The atmosphere before the run was great although of course with so many runners everywhere it was so busy! Mo Farah was running too but I let him win as I felt it only fair, next year however I may not be so kind! The nerves I had before the race were calmed by chatting to a lady I had just met in the starting pens. I think should we not have been chatting I would have been getting myself more and more wound up thinking about the task I faced. In my training runs I had don’t 11 miles once but otherwise only up to 8.7 miles so I was a little worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the run and also again worried that I would be last!
I need not have worried at all, I loved the run and felt amazing throughout. The atmosphere along the whole route was fantastic with spectators cheering everyone along, children high fiving you and people handing out orange segments, sweets and ice cubes. It was really warm which seemed to bother a lot of the runners but I felt ok and it was probably helped by the fact I had predominantly been doing my training runs in similar heat over the summer. I ran the route on my own amongst the crowds of other runners, not trying to keep up with anyone else and not concerned too much about my time or pace. Along the route there are markers for each mile and it seemed to fly by and before I knew it I was half way.
|Me and my partner Stuart with out Great North Run medals|
I finished the Great North Run in 2 hours 24 minutes and 14 seconds, so a little behind Mo Farah but like I say I thought it was only fair! The feeling of crossing that finishing line was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe I had done it. Jen, who before losing weight was out of breath walking upstairs and even after losing weight only ever ran a bath, had actually ran a half marathon! I am immensely proud of my time and astonished that I did so well. I even made the local paper for my run, blog and fundraising!
Will I run again now I have completed that challenge I set myself? Yes I definitely will, I have most definitely caught the running bug and have been running since the Great North Run and packed my running kit to take on holiday to run in the sun in Majorca! I have my eyes on a few more half marathons and I am hoping to get a place to do the London Marathon in April. In the future I would also like to do an Ultra Marathon. An Ultra Marathon strictly is any run over 26.2 miles of a marathon, there are some that are 30 miles and others that are 100 miles and various in between!
|My story in the local Newspaper (Ashfield Chad 14-9-16)|
I have yet to close my sponsorship page as I have still got a few bits of sponsor money to collect and pay into the Samaritans Justgiving account but it looks like I will have raised around £650-700 which is absolutely amazing! If on reading this you are able to spare a little towards my fundraising it would be greatly appreciated the link to donate online is here.
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