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My Great North Run Experience ...

After 9 months of training, the Great North Run finally arrived last Sunday (13th September), the nerves had kicked in, my stomach was churning, and after 48 hours of carbo-loading I felt pretty sick. But I had been waiting so long to take part that I was actually overwhelmed with excitement. And the day did not let me down.

This day will be active in my memory for a very long time. I had spent months gathering in sponsors from friends, family and work colleagues in aid of Children with Cancer UK, a charity very close to my heart. I had spent the last 9 months putting myself through some gruelling training sessions, to make sure I was capable of not only completing the race but beating the time I had set for myself, 2:10:00.

We could not have asked for nicer weather, temperatures were between 15-18 degrees and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The atmosphere was unreal, words can't quite explain it. There was music playing throughout the run from chart music at the start to steal drum bands on the roundabouts at South Shields. I was so lucky to start the race with 'Local Hero' blasting out of the speakers close by, and just as I was about to set foot across the start line the Red Arrows soared through the sky above. I have to admit that was quite an emotional moment for me. The race itself was brilliant, hard, but brilliant. Never would I have ever imagined running along motorways with spectators sat in their deck chairs, handing out cut up oranges, ice pops and jelly babies. The community had really come together to support all of the runners. 
The last mile was the most intense for me, physically and emotionally. I knew my mum, stepdad and boyfriend were stood waiting for me 500m from the finish line, and I wanted to make them proud. I dug deep as I turned onto the coast road, the breeze from the sea cooled me down ever so slightly, and the sight of the Red Arrows performing warmed my heart. I checked my Garmin watch and I had 8 minutes to get to the end if I wanted to complete in my desired time. 
The sight of my loved ones gave me an extra boost of energy that I didn't think I had, and I managed to complete the race in 2:08:42, 78 seconds faster than I was hoping. Tears streamed down my face, I had finished, I had made my loved ones proud and I had made myself proud. And I was aching in muscles I didn't know I had used.
Definitely a day I won't forget anytime soon.

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