I do love a good destination race, and I’d heard from many people that the Great North Run was amazing. Add to that the fact that I’d never been to Newcastle and I was sold. I entered the lottery and along with a few friends and club members got lucky! The race is on a Sunday in September, which is sort of unfortunate because you don’t get to celebrate Saturday night and Newcastle seems like a great place for a night out!
We stayed in the race accommodations, which are student dormitories. They’re nothing special but check out isn’t until 5 pm so after you finish you can come back and have a shower before journeying home. Which is awesome.
We wandered to Jesmond for dinner, a cute neighborhood with lots of tempting restaurants and bars and ate a lovely Italian meal, then went to the movies and watched War Dogs (a really interesting movie, I’d recommend it!). I wandered to the start about an hour before the race. That was not early enough. I waited in the queue for the toilet for an hour and nearly missed getting into my corral. So give yourself plenty of time!
It was a hot day, and I really should have brought my own water instead of relying on the course stations. Not all of them had water, some were just lucozade, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I ran with a pace leader for a bit for some company. The pace leaders had to wear bunny ears and tails (they were sponsored by energizer) and he told me this had made it difficult to find professional pacers and many were first timers. Not good. I loved running over the Tyne Bridge and seeing the red arrows overhead! The bands and support were excellent and it wasn’t as crowded as I’d feared. It’s a flat finish along the beach, and the medal and shirt were really nice! I didn’t finish with a PB but considering the heat I’m happy with 1:57.
We lingered at the finish for a bit, and watched the Red Arrows show while soaking up some sun. As more people finished, we realized we should head out before it was chaos and got on a bus headed back to city centre. We were back at the room within 45 minutes, it was really easy! I showered and we are amazing cheeseburgers and milkshakes before beginning the long drive home.