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Great North Run 2016 Checklist

We’re only days away until the Great North Run arrives back in the North East of England as over 50,000 runners take on the 13.1 mile course, which starts at Newcastle and finishes along the seafront in South Shields.

For many, this will be their very first time running not only the event but the distance also. For others, this will be another GNR that will be added to the running CV, a huge achievement, especially for those entering or well over double digits for the greatest half marathon on the calendar.

Thanks to A Runner’s Ramble, he’s provided a 10 point checklist for you to run through – no pun intended – to help with any last minute qualms or doubts!

10. Don’t change anything! 

From your breakfast to your kit, DON’T. CHANGE. ANYTHING! You’ll be used to your meal, the feel of your kit – particularly shoes and the routine you go through before your run – that the best way to think of it, it’s just another long run – except that you’ll be sharing it with over 50,000 people.

9. Get to your Area early!

In 2014, I made the foolish and rookie error of jumping on the Metro at 10am, forgetting that my pen closed at 10:30am. Check the back of your bib to see what time the area you’re in closes its gates. Don’t panic if you’re late, you’ll just be left to queue outside until the other’s get going and the packs start to get a move on.

8. Warm up

If you have a good 10-15 spare before you join your group, go for a brisk jog somewhere. The start line won’t leave without you! Plus, if it’s fresh in the morning – which it will be, it’s the North East, we don’t really do warm, up here – it’ll be good to get the leg muscles and the body fired up, set the focus levels and prepare yourself. Last thing you want to do is pull a muscle just as you start or during the run!

7. Embrace the crowd

I don’t mean, like, hug everyone – you can if you like, but some might find that weird. What I mean is, the pens are crowded and it’s going to be very busy, so be prepared to be either slightly squashed or share your space with about 10-20 people around you. If you’re claustrophobic, it might be worthwhile queuing outside the pen or try get a spot next to the railings.

6. Always be prepared

In 2014 and again in 2015, I don’t think anyone expected it to be that hot to run in. Had I known the sun would be out for most of the route, I would have bought a cap to run in. This year, it’s been forecast to be another warm one. Keep a bottle of water handy to sip from (do not gulp) and possibly look into getting a cheap white (reflects heat) a hat.

As mentioned in point 8, it might be slightly fresh early in the morning, so it could be worth taking cover for your legs such as an old pair of pants, you can always chuck them over the barriers as they get collected and donated to charity.

5. Know where your family/friends are

Two reasons why I’ve mentioned this: Firstly, this is so you know where your group of supporters will be during your run – there’s nothing greater than seeing people you know along the route and it’s a huge lift. Best place to get them to stand? Along the John Reid Road, the toughest part of the course.

Second, is so you can locate them after your run. You’ve just ran 13.1 miles so the last thing you want to do is be walking around looking for loved ones in a sea of about 10,000 people. So beforehand, pick a place to meet them. It could be at The New Crown (the pub at the corner next to the tents), next to Gypsies Green Stadium, the lettered flags for meeting finishers or, and this is easily the best option, get them to find your charity tent – if you’re running for one that is. Anywhere where you can definitely find the people you’re looking for, confirm it with your family!

4. It’s not a race!

Since I can remember, I used to watch the start of the Great North Run every year. There would always, and I mean always, be that one idiot who decides to absolutely leg it at the front and burn out after 60m – yeah, don’t do that! It’s not a race so go the pace you feel most comfortable at and been training under, it could be 6 minute miles or 15 minute miles, just focus on getting around in one piece and don’t feel disheartened if you need to walk for a bit too – I did in 2015!

3. Terrain

Like any other distance event, there is always a certain area of the course that provides a challenge. It could be an uneven path, gravel or even a grassed area. The Great North Run routine, however, provides a couple of nasty little climbs, just to test your will and legs out – particularly the climb after passing Heworth Metro Station and the hill leading to the Marsden Inn! Below is an image from the course map via the Great Run website to give you a better understanding of the climbs.

2. Hydration 

Yep, this is a biggy. You need to keep as hydrated as possible for running a big event like this. Drinking well, the day before is key, I feel but it doesn’t mean you should be cramming litres upon litres of water in such a short space of time, that’ll leave you with a thing I like to call ‘jelly belly’ – the sensation when your tummy makes a sloshing sound when you move, plus it may leave you feeling a bit bloated too.

On the day of race, I wouldn’t drink any more than 500ml of water and I’d do this a good couple of hours before the run and then tiny little sips from a bottle when needed. The same could be said when you come to the water stations but don’t take on Lucozade unless you’ve been using it for your training! This might give you a bad tummy or leaving you needing to go to the loo unexpectedly!

TIP: Don’t take water from anyone other than official water station marshals – these are located at mile 3, 6, 9 and  in between 11 & 12

1. Fun

It’s a fun run, so have fun! Soak up the atmosphere and drink in the experience! Even If you’re running for a charity or not, remember all the hard work you’ve put in for 12-16 weeks has come to this and it’ll be worth it. Once you get your meal and t-shirt you’ll know.

Good Luck and enjoy!

Follow A Runner’s Ramble on social media via @ARunnersRamble and his blog on www.arunnersramble.com

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