Gannin’ along the John Reid Road…


And so it began, another glorious weekend of athletics and in particular, running, in the mighty Toon – it was Great North Run time!

This year contained a number of firsts for me: my first boy running the race of his life for the first time in the Great North Mini Run; my first GNR after baby number two and the first time I nearly had to bail out.

gnrminisOn Sunday 13th September 2015 54 green and golds took to their pens after what can only be described as a fiasco of a metro service (what on earth were they thinking, grrr?!) Another scorcher despite torrential rain the previous day, but we’re used to that now.

Hot on the shoulders of Mo was the awesome Yared Hagos, finishing in an incredible 1:08:14 Mentions must also go to the next Wallsend warrior Simon Lyons who finished in 1:23:32 and Matt Darbyshire 1:24:22.

Donna Horne was our first lady, doing it for mums everywhere in an excellent 1:40:47. Marathon ladies Julie Williams and Leanne Smith both finished in under 1:50.

And for me, a PB was never going to be on the cards this year but I was still ready for a goodun’, poised to run hot on the heels of Paul Pitchford and Lee Walker in orange zone c. But alas it was not meant to be. Perhaps it was the heat or the lasting impact of a brutal Jelly Tea, who knows. I wasn’t even half way through before I got carted off to a St John’s ambulance tent. But there was no way I wasn’t getting that medal, and the thought of a worried husband waiting for me at the other end was enough to get me back on the Felling bypass. But from then on I took it steady and probably had my most enjoyable GNR experience to date.

I took it all in, the sights, the crowds, the endless tributes to lost ones loved and those living but battling. It was an emotional ride and one that I’ll never forget. Those 12 minutes in a tent made me remember what it was all about. The “oggy oggy oggies” and the high fives. In the words of a great green and gold “People need people” (Terry O’Gara). I could feel him looking down on me, spurring me on. It’s great to give it your all and go after a better time year after year but it’s even greater to be part of something that you won’t find anywhere else – the best half marathon in the world.

Huge congratulations to everyone who took part and supported. I’m sorry I haven’t mentioned everyone’s time (I’m sure there were lots of PBs celebrated) but I’ve been on my own with the kids for two days and if I don’t get to bed soon I won’t last another! You know who you are and each and every one of you should be so so proud you did it.

See you there next year!

Emily James



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