New race reports – Great North run race report by Craig Stokes

Race Report Simply health Great north run September 10th 2017 (my first HM)

I originally Booked this race when I was with my old club New Marske Harriers in around February if my memory serves me correct and was looking forward to it, I joined NYMAC and straight away realized the amount of race specific training that was on offer through the then coach Peter Conner. The couple of weeks leading up to the Race training was going well no injury niggles and managed a cracking PB at Darlington 10K, Although I’d never been good with long runs and was consistently struggling at 10 miles but managing to get the 21K in.The Saturday Leading up to the race I done my longest run ever and done 15 miles I was well pleased with this as I felt like id finally cracked my long run problems so having now started my taper the day after it was the New Marske harriers 5K on Wednesday and bagged another PB 19-15 (31 seconds off my previous effort) I had a look at the race predictor which showed that my 5K PB my new HM target was around 1 hour 29 I felt confident but I was sticking with my original target of between 1-30 to 1-35 but if I felt good who knows. On the Sunday morning we set off at around 06-45 and got to South Shields at 08-20 and parked on the sea front with out any problems me and Chris from Redcar Running club used our pre-paid pop cards and jumped on the Bus which got us there at 9 O’clock and had a walk up and down the starting area and I soon realized that the sheer numbers of bodies on the start line was going to be a problem.

I proceeded to my start area orange B at 10 o’clock as it was now starting to fill up and looked around for any NYMAC guys no one to be seen, The start lane was split by the road central reservation I was in the left lane so to the right was the other orange B lane we done a brief warm up after standing around for 30 minutes and then we were away at last. I made the conscious effort of not starting to fast and not getting drawn into a fast 5K after the first 2K I had observed people walking already………moving on to 4K I found myself running on the pebbles on the central reservation to get past other runners and risking injury so I jumped over the barrier and went in to the right hand lane and hit my first 5 K in 22-02 now behind schedule.

I pressed on but couldn’t get settled still after jumping the barrier again back to the left hand lane and finished 10K in 43-53 I was half way there. Now it was time to start pushing on a bit more and I was looking forward to seeing my friends from Redcar Running Club at the water station at mile 8 I got through the showers then bang…… stomach Cramps I felt at this point like John Hurt out of Alien…. I got to the drinks station where Phil with a big smile handed me my water and I pressed on in agony I managed at this point to pass a couple of NYMAC people but Im afraid I wasn’t feeling to sociable, at ten miles my legs were now in bits also as the course was far more undulating than I had anticipated but again pressed on to the GNR hill at 17 to 18K I was ready to chuck the towel in big time and my pace had now dropped but thought no way am I giving up and gritted my teeth and jogged on and passed another fellow NYMAC member, dodging the photographers with my shades down hiding my pain I got to the top of the hill and seen the decent and found some more steam from some where and passed Dave Paley from New marske he smiled and I waved back it was now in the bag as I was on the sea front then Richard Viech from Redcar Running Club flew past me as though I was stood still, my watch beeped 21 k I’m there and looking for the finish line no where in site was it……. Now probably running on solar power I eventually got view of the finish line in what felt like another 10 miles I seen my girlfriend and herd her shouting but I wasn’t able to respond I marched on and crossed the finish line and flaked out. She then met me at the meeting point and the first words that crossed her lips were… you didn’t enjoy that did you ? I just put My head down.

Although I was happy with my time of 1-32-53 I really struggled on the day and the course itself highlighted a lot of my weak points in my running (long runs) no surprise there, would I do the GNR again ? ask me again in 6 months

Craig stokes