FOR a while I’ve been thinking of entering a half marathon. I wanted to race in the early autumn, but I’ve been struggling to decide which one to target. This week, the decision has been made for me. I’m absolutely delighted to say that I have a place in the Great North Run.
The Great North Run is one of the biggest half marathons in the UK. It doesn’t get much bigger or better. On 11th September I will be lining up with thousands of others to run the 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields. I can’t wait. It’s exactly the challenge I’ve been looking for.
Over the past few years I’ve focused on smaller, local races. Last year I did the Ackworth Half Marathon then the North Lincolnshire Half Marathon. And while I absolutely love these smaller races, I have missed taking part in the big events. There’s something really special about the big races.
After missing the ballot entry deadline for the Great North Run, I thought I’d have no chance of running this year. Then along came Action for Children, a charity working hard to make sure every child and young person has the love, support and opportunity they need to reach their potential.
The charity offered me a place on their GNR team, which I’m absolutely delighted to be part of. Not only can I now take part in the GNR, but I will also be raising money for a fantastic cause. The money I raise will be used to help children and young people in Yorkshire, my local area.
Every year the Great North Run raises thousands of pounds for many different charities. It really does make a difference. Chris and I first took part in the Great North back in 2007, raising money for Epilepsy Action. I completed it in two hours seven minutes. Chris finished in two hours five. This year, I’m hoping I can go a bit quicker. My personal best is one hour 36, so I’d really like to beat this.
It won’t be easy. I’ve had a number of problems recently, burning myself out on the local racing scene and then being told that I have no natural ability for running whatsoever. By the time I line up on the start line it will be fifteen months since my last half marathon race. Fifteen months! I’m bound to be nervous, but it’s also exciting. What a fantastic opportunity.
It’s ten weeks till race day, enough time to get fit and fast to be in the best shape I can be come race day. I just hope I can do the team proud and smash my personal best while also raising money for a great charity.