Why the 2019 Great North Run was my worst.

“Nah. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth my time. It’s not worth any effort. I’ll sack it off. In fact, this year can just do one – I’ve had enough.”

This is just one example of a thought I’d have leading up to the Great North Run and I hate myself for thinking this way.

2019 year has not been a year to remember with my running. I missed three months of it down to injury and a severe case of a lack of a running mojo, that had a massive impact on my training for GNR and even on the day itself – I do talk about it in length on my podcast and YouTube video, which you can check out after you’ve read this blog post. 

With this being my fifth round of the World’s Best Half Marathon, normally I’m buzzing about it, with it peaking the week leading up to it. But having no City Games at the Quayside or Red Arrows this year took a little bit of the shine off the day but not enough to make me not run it. 

On Saturday, I spent most of my time taking it easy, watching the BBC’s coverage of the City Games in Stockton and getting kit washed and ready for the big day and then popped my head in to the Fordy Runs meet up – it was SO good to meet folk and get to know them as well as why they are running GNR.

Tyne Bridge – the night before

By the time I got home, I was shattered and for the first time since 2014, I wasn’t excited, I wasn’t nervous, there was no anticipation for what was around the corner – “What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I not looking forward to this?” 

Morning. 7:15am. My alarm went off, I jumped out of bed, got changed, pre-race pooped and text the Team Tedious gang to confirm the meet-up point. 

On the way to meet Neale in Newcastle, I bumped in to Peter and Justine but soon after, I was approached by Vikki and Fred, two first timers who totally caught me by surprise. They were telling me how much they enjoyed the videos and how excited, yet a little nervous, they were. It felt surreal folk stopping me and saying such wonderful things about my content! By no means do I do it to ‘get famous’, I do it to help folk and because I bloody love being creative! 

Once bags and kit were dropped off and a pre-race pee was completed, it was time to make the walk to our pens. This is where I started to focus in a little. I was relaxed, mainly thanks to Iain, Justine and Peter’s company but once the gun went off to signal the start of GNR, tunnel vision kicked in. As we walked to the start line, I clicked my neck, exhaled and looked to fire myself up, clapping the team around me to get around and crack on. 

Across the Tyne! Photo @Run.Just.Run

Naturally, the first mile was too fast, way too fast – it always is! But soon, we settled into a comfortable pace, saying hello to fellow Fordy Runners in Matt and Stephen. The miles went by so fast but I still wasn’t enjoying it.

By the time we got to the halfway point, I was starting to feel heavy. The lack of proper training slapped me right in the face and legs but I, we, had to get around safely. “Finish lines over finish times.”

The goal was to get Justine round, if she needed to walk, we walked, if she wanted to run a little slower, we ran slower, this was my highlight from that day. We worked as a team and I loved that! Also, I don’t know how, but when Iain dotted around for food, catch up with a runner or a cool shower, he somehow kept finding us! Incredible! 

After many ice pops, jelly babies and bottles of water, we were nearing the end, as we got to the Marsden Inn hill, turned and faced not just the most gorgeous sight of the South Shields coast, but also the longest mile in race history! 

At this point, I had had enough. Subconsciously, my turnover picked up, Iain was right by my side here and I looked back to see how Peter and Justine were doing, but I couldn’t see them. I didn’t want to drop back at this point as it was BUSY and I didn’t want to get in the way of runners, so I called it – I’ll finish strong and meet them at the finish. 

This is where something incredible happened. At 200m, I put on the burners, not just a little bit, but all out speed and my legs loved it. As the finish line drew closer, the arms went out to signal I was flying, followed by the biggest fist pump I’ve ever done. 


After meeting up with the team and got our medals we went to Peter and Justine’s charity tent (Daisy Chain Project) for a well earned sit down and a can of coke, as we relived our run, before we chilled in the sun and went our separate ways. 

To me, that was the worst Great North I’ve run. It wasn’t the organisation’s fault, far from actually, it was brilliantly put together once again, but three months of hating running, no training and lack of excitement played it’s part BUT it hasn’t put me off from coming back, I only see this as a blip.

Next up is the Kielder Half Marathon, Katie Jane Online and myself are Events of The North Ambassador for that weekend! If you’re thinking of going, the half marathon has sold out BUT there are event to enter still RIGHT HERE.