Race Date: Sunday 10th September 2023
Race Report by: Tony Bell
In 1991 when I was young and fit, I ran the Great North Run and was not impressed. It took me 1h50 when I could run 1h25 for a half. The crowds of such a big race slowed me down a lot, I ran the last mile on the seafront in about 7 minutes. Thank you Mr. Foster but no thanks. Then in 2014 my work took me to Newcastle University so I ran the GNR again for the Tyneside experience, I lived a mile from the start. I ran it again in 2015 the day before I started work at Sheffield Hallam University.
I went back in 2018 for a chance to see Tyneside again. When it was announced that the 2023 GNR sponsor was to be “AJ Bell” I couldn’t turn down the opportunity of racing with my name on my race number 🙂
So off I went with my wife Shelley to see Tyneside and for me to run the GNR again. On Saturday we ran the fantastic seafront Whitley Bay parkrun, our old home parkrun. It was great to see Kate Scott at the parkrun. I just jogged round with Shelley.
Sunday morning, just like old times I took the Metro train to Newcastle University, this time I walked through the campus to the GNR start. Then it was just a matter of waiting and keeping out of the sun for as long as possible before it was time to line up.
18 minutes and 31 seconds after Mo Farah had started I finally made it to the start line. I got a decent start, I knew about the downhill to the Tyne Bridge, I also knew it would start to get more crowded after that and my pace started to slow. It gradually got warmer and warmer and I was pretty tired by halfway. I was still passing more than were passing me. It started to get harder by 10 miles and it was a struggle in from 11 miles, now more were passing me than I was passing. My right knee was very sore after the steep downhill to the sea front, the last mile took a bit more than 7 minutes but I ran in to the end.
Very tired on finishing in a personal worst time of 1h55.00. It was not a day for fast times. The warm weather suddenly got cooler just before the end, I was feeling a bit chilled in the post-finish area, glad to get to the baggage buses and some warmer clothes.
It was good to come back to Tyneside again and run this race, I raised some money for Sheffield Cats Shelter.
The full results can be viewed here.