Great North Run: 20 reasons why it's an emotional, unforgettable day
The world's biggest running event is almost here again.
But why do we love the Great North Run so much?
Here are some of the highlights as I see them. This year, I’m taking on the half marathon for Hartlepool charity Miles for Men.
*It’s a bit like waiting for Christmas: You prepare for it for months and then suddenly its here - and you’re full of excitement. Only, unlike Christmas, there’s no bearded bloke with a bunch of reindeer.
*The calm before the storm: You re-check the checklist you checked ten times the night before. And then check it again. A tad nervous.
*You’re off to Newcastle: There’s thousands walking to the start line ... And you can proudly puff your chest out and declare “yeah I’m one of you.”
*That emotional moment when the runners pay tribute to those we’ve loved and lost: A time to remember why you committed to this - to raise money for fantastic causes.
*The gun goes - for the elite runners: 40 minutes or so later, you reach the start line and you’re off.
*Thousands of screaming people are in a tunnel shouting “oggy oggy oggy”: Its a runners opera and it’s reverberating off the walls. Goosebumps time.
*You come out the tunnel to see a five-deep line of spectators urging you on. Goosebumps time 2.
*You reach the Tyne Bridge with the Red Arrows roaring overhead: Meanwhile, a roadside Geordie you’ve never met before is shouting “gan on son. Yer can dee this.”
*Gateshead - and a live band is playing in the middle of a roundabout: Only at the Great North Run.
*A woman from Heworth is handing out the sweets she’s bought for the runners: Nearby, there’s a roadside offer of beer, or a spray of water.
*The halfway point and you’re doubting yourself: But the runner next to you pats you on the back with a “howay pal you’ve got this.”
*You reach the charity bus filled with your supporters: There’s horns, claxons and a clutch of screaming people urging you on. Goosebumps time 3.
*John Reid Road and time to dig deep: So are thousands of others, including two lots of Superman, Batman and Robin, and a six foot saveloy. It’s not the GNR without the costumes.
*The doubts creep in: Can you keep going? But then it happens ... You can see the sea.
*Your tired legs drop down the steep Redwell bank to the sharp seafront turn: Just like Mo Farah did an hour or so earlier.
*The last mile and the fantastic South Shields crowds are screaming at you in encouragement: Who are you to disappoint such wonderful people.
*It’s a battle: To hold back the tears of emotion and joy as you realise you’re going to do this. You’re going to prove all of those doubters wrong.
*The last 100 metres and it’s there in front of you: The finish line. You’re spent and you can barely stand as you complete your half marathon. You’re a Great North runner.
*With your new T-shirt on and your medal round your neck: It’s time to go home.
*The next day: You can barely move. Your mouth feels like it’s living in a desert. But you’re buzzing and asking yourself “can I do it all again.”