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Oh Shit, I’m Running A Marathon: Week 8 – Howay Man Woman Pet Man

Oh knackers, I somehow forgot I'm ALSO doing the Great North Run

Came back from my holiday to find that my bib number for the Great North Run (13 September) had arrived. I shit you not when I say that I’d completely forgotten I was even signed up for the race.

I’d absent-mindedly agreed to run it in back in May, thinking it would be a good warm-up event for my first marathon, the Bristol + Bath Marathon (25 October) – and I do still think that, I just feel a bit, uh, unprepared for it, given that it’s happening in omfg three weeks and I’ve never run it before.

So I decided to ask my friend Tamsin – who’s done the Great North Run three times – for a summary/synopsis/lowdown on what I could expect from my first time. Here’s what she told me.

So, Tamsin, why have you done the Great North Run three times?  

“Stupidity? No, it was to get fit. I’m not a gym-type person – I get bored easily – and I wanted a target to aim for.

“Plus, the atmosphere is brilliant. The crowds are flipping amazing and really keep you motivated. I’m a cold-hearted cow but they made me feel all warm and fuzzy.”

Tamsin (right) at the 2012 Great North Run

It’s a hugely popular race – have you ever been slowed down by the masses of fellow runners? 

“Well, I hope you’ve down put a faster estimated finishing time than you actually think you’ll do, so that you start relatively near the front.

I only overtook Jimmy Savile on the seventh mile

“I started further back one year as a friend had put down a slower time than me. I probably ran about 16 miles in all, as I spent the entire race running around people. I only overtook Jimmy Savile on the seventh mile…”

Brrr. So what’s the route like? Is it hilly? 

“Yeah, it’s very undulating. You come down a huuge hill at the end though, down onto the seafront, which is a massive relief.

“The last half-a-mile is completely flat though, so it looks shorter than it is – that’s a fucking killer if you’re a dick like me and decide to sprint at the end.”

Anything else I should know? 

The worst bit is getting on the Metro afterwards. That’s a bitch

“Every child wants a high-five – that’s probably why Savile loved it. But watch out for the people with big globs of Vaseline on their hands. They’re trying to help out with runners’ chafing, I realised too late.

“The worst bit is getting on the Metro afterwards. That’s a bitch. Oh, and my toenails fell off one year. I think it was because of all the uppy/downy hills.”

Okay cool, I’ll gaffer-tape mine down. Thanks for the advice.  

“Hope it helps. Good luck!”

HIGH POINT OF THE WEEK: My ‘long run’ this week was 16 miles, which is further than I’ve ever run before, and I don’t want to jinx things but it was *whispers* pretty easy. Looks like spending what feels like every waking bastard hour training might be paying off.

LOW POINT OF THE WEEK: Googled my Great North Run bib number (8712) to see if anything cool or inspiring came up, but all I got was this: the Rosemont 8712 Magnetic Flow Meter System. No I’ve no idea either.

Training tune of the week: dBridge & Vegas – True Romance


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