Great North Run Mo Farah
[Great North Run, Mo Farah – photo by Runiversity of life]

The Great North Run Journey

Those who have been following my running journey, or reading my blog will know I was supposed to run the Great North Run in 2018 on my 39th birthday! In 2017 when starting running, the aim was to be able to run 5 km. As soon as I reached 5 km, I began to increase my distance, targeting 10 km.

I reached my goal in June with a time of 1:07.27. I then set a new challenge of a race per month, including a 10 km race abroad in Barcelona. But this time, to run the distance under the hour by the end of the year. I came close to the hour in Barcelona at the Cursa de la Mercè, an event with 16000 runners. In my subsequent races, I realised 10 km within the hour each time. 🙂

With 10 km under the hour in the bag, the next stop was a half marathon. I managed it and completed the Wokingham half with a time of c2:15, not bad for the first one. From non-runner, overweight, seriously unfit, to 13.1 miles (half marathon) in 13 months and 1 week.

The race per month challenge also continued, mainly with different races locally. This time, instead of including a run abroad, I decided to enter the Great North Run, which also fell on my birthday.  I gained a charity place and chose Parkinson’s UK as my grandfather had been suffering from the disease for at least 10 years.

Not a great sports fan, he tended not to watch or follow sport that closely. However, every time I saw him, he stated I am going to watch it and told me it was very noble of me to do this. Unfortunately, he passed away in May that year, 4 months before race day. Then, just 4 weeks before the big day, I went and sustained an injury, a stress fracture picked up on a club run. The Great North Run birthday dream was over! 🙁

Opportunely, Parkinson’s UK kindly allowed me to defer to 2019 to finish what I started.  Today is exactly one year since I removed my cast boot. I took a whole three months off to allow the bone to repair fully before starting over again. By which time, my fitness levels had somewhat reversed.

Since then, getting back to running has been quite difficult for various reasons. I’ve struggled to find the passion and enjoyment from running I once had, but have persevered as best as possible.

It’s been a tricky journey, a niggle of concern regarding getting injured remained at the back of my mind. This has somewhat held me back, especially in the weeks leading up to the Great North Run. The last thing I wanted was to pick up an injury and miss out once more.

Bucks Free Press Article
[Bucks Free Press, Great North Run – photo by Runiversity of life]
With minimal training, I am pleased to say I did manage to make it around in one piece and finish. I swam and utilised the gym when I could, with a few long runs in the mix leading up to race day. I even made the local press the week before regarding my story and challenge. In hindsight, this by no means was sufficient training, and was considerably noticeable in my finish time and the aches I had afterwards. To finish what I started and get around was all that mattered to me, sometimes it’s more about finish lines, not the finish times!

Race review on the way.

#parkinsonsuk #greatnorthrun #gnr

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The Long Road to the Great North Run – October 9, 2019
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