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A Fabulous Great South Run

Living in Portsmouth, it's always been an ambition of mine to run the Great South. Over the years I watched it on the TV and said... "next year".

Well this was the year. I've now been running for 16 months so thought that it was the best time to do it. A few weeks ago I did a half marathon, and, if one more person says to me 10 miles is easy if you do half marathons were about to get a slap!!

'you've done a half, 10 miles is easy'

Nervous, scared, excited were all emotions I had for about a week running up to it. I even dreamt the night before I was kidnapped at gunpoint on my way to the race.... I haven't looked at the symbolism in that yet....

Anyway, we got there about 8.15 which I thought was really early but by the time we sorted ourselves out, went to the toilet (I don't know how many times), talked to friends it was time to queue. The atmosphere that the Great Run created was something I've not been part of before. I've done enough races this year but nothing on that scale. I have to say that the organisation was very well done as well. Although you may have to look at some risk assessments on what some costumes were as there were a couple of incidents of people almost tripping over tails!

I was in the white wave (I'm still not sure what time I put down when I booked it a year ago) and there's proof as I was on Channel 5 waving at the camera! Actually it was really good as my parents live up North so they got to see me on the TV at the start and then my Dad was tracking me around the course. What a brilliant idea that App is! 

I definitely learnt from Goodwood not to get carried away (or have so many gels before hand). My friend, Tess, and I ran for the first mile together and then I told her to run off so she could enjoy it and run her own pace (she's a lot faster than me and didn't want to hold her back). So, she left me just before Gunwharf and from then on it was just me, the wonderful crowd and very supportive runners. The pipers were just amazing. I just love that sound and it would have got me through the whole course I'm sure.

I must admit I found the dockyard very eerie. As no civilian supporters were allowed in, it was just us and the navy personnel. It was very quiet going round and the Navy band were a welcome sound (and very good too). As soon as you were out of the dockyard the crowds started up again and the children with their power ups were fab.

To be honest most of the course is a bit of a blur. It was hot and it took every ounce of energy to get through it. I managed to get just over 6 miles before I had to start to put my walk/run strategy into place (and I vow next year, it is my mission not to walk at all). If the weather was a bit cooler I may have managed a little longer. However, when the crowd saw me wanting to walk they shouted my name and told me to keep going - a total stranger taking time out on a Sunday to support thousands of people I just thought was amazing. Children buying Jelly Babies and Haribos to help us along - it's like giving back for Halloween!!

Just on that, just reading people's messages on their back on who they were supporting and why was actually emotional. Some were themselves still having treatment for various illnesses and still running. There's me just running for myself. We all run for different reasons and no reason is right or wrong - the main thing is that we all support each other and push total strangers when we see them struggling. 

Oh and my tartan joggers..... yes they were mentioned a few times and went down very well. A lot of comments by spectators who liked them so yes they are now staying. Do you know, I was in Edinburgh the other weekend I went into almost every shop looking for some tartan leggings but there were none. I think there is a niche market missing out on this.

I digress slightly but all of a sudden the seafront was there and it seemed very long (longer than I've run or walked it before). Get to 800 meters though and the crowd erupted, it was amazing. My husband was at the finish line, I didn't see him or hear him (probably like normal!). I just kept my focus on the finish line. I crossed it and I cried. The shear relief that I ran (ish) 10 miles by myself, with only me to push me when it came down to it. The passion that I have now for running and to improve even more. That 10 miles taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I probably haven't even thought of until I next run (which is tonight). I've already signed up for next year and the training starts again now as I'm determined I'm running the whole 10 miles next October no matter what.I said to my husband in the pub that afternoon... I suppose I can call myself a runner now. And that I am.

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