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Great North Run - Expect DelaysYesterday, driving up to Newcastle for the Great North Run the motorway signs said to expect delays and to be honest, with 50,000+ runners that was exactly what I was expecting. With every race I do I always hope for a personal best, but with so many runners I was expecting lots of “traffic” a bit like I experienced at the British 10k London Run.

Despite the extremely high number of runners, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able navigate my way through the crowds and complete the first 5k in around 23 minutes. Around mile 4 the rain came and it was heavy. After a good drenching it stopped around 20 minutes later, just before I hit 10k. A half marathon is just over 21 kilometres. My 10k time was just over 49 minutes. A personal best (PB) was suddenly in sight.

Having done some quick calculations in my head I knew I had to keep the pace up. I was comfortable. Maybe not so comfortable as to call it easy, but I was confident I could keep going and I got to 15km in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Just after to 10 mile mark my race suddenly took a turn for the worse. The cramps I experienced last month in the Isle of Wight half marathon suddenly hit me again and when they hit, they hit hard. My dreams of a PB were slipping away from me and despite my every effort to run through the pain, my legs simply failed to work as they should.

The last 3 miles of my race were slow and extremely uncomfortable (painful!). There was no way I was quitting. I pushed on as best I could and eventually finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes exactly. I have to be honest and I say I was gutted. If you’d told me this time last year I could finish a half marathon in 01:55:00 I would have been chuffed to bits, so I guess it shows how much progress I’ve made that the time was a disappointment. My finishing position was 11636th, which is still a respectable placing out of 50,000+ runners but I can’t help but wonder what might have been.

The crowds on the Great North Run were amazing. Their support and encouragement definitely helped me overcome the pain in those last three miles. Oh, and this was the first race I’ve run where people were offering homemade sausage rolls and real ale to the runners (I politely declined both).

Now to try work out how to avoid the cramp ruining my next race…

2013 Miles in 2013

Cystic Fibrosis A Race We Must WinThis year I am trying to complete 2013 miles self-powered miles. It is has been 10 years since my cousin’s son Adam lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Adam was just 18 years old when when he lost his lifelong battle with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. Despite spending large parts of his short life in hospital Adam never once complained, not even of a headache and was determined to make the most of everyday.

My 2013 miles in 2013 challenge is in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles, in April I completed 192.1 miles, in May I completed 168 miles, in June I completed 145 miles, in July I completed 210.1 miles and in August I completed 130.7 miles. If you can please spare £14.38 (my mileage so far) to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.