An Early Start

It was a 5:30am start for myself and Andrew Tudor as we left Northowram heading for Newcastle and the start of the Great North Run 2016.

A pleasant journey up to the North East and before you know it we were parked up in South Shields and heading to a local B&B to meet the rest of our gang running for the charity Theirworld.

We had our breakfast, changed and pinned on our numbers before getting the Metro across to the start line. The Metro was not as busy as in previous years and it was quite a pleasant journey across to the start.

At the Start

A couple of toilet stops and then we walked towards the starting pens. This for me is where the sheer size of the Great North Run really hits you. 55,000+ runners all nervously trying to congregate into their respective pens and prepare themselves for the off.

It really is a sight to behold and a great experience.

A lot of runners getting in their pens
A lot of runners getting in their pens

We caught a glimpse of Lord Coe on our way to the start, and looked out for Mo Farah but he was nowhere to be seen. I bet he doesn’t need to use the woods for the toilet either…

We kept an eye out for the other Pumas taking part…

Lizzie Jones, Lyndsey Grix, Stephanie Coyle,

Lizzie, Lindsay and Stephanie
Lizzie, Lyndsey and Stephanie

Susan Burlison, Paul Pickering and Janine Dyson

Paul and Janine
Paul and Janine

but the chances of spotting anyone you have not agreed to meet beforehand are very limited!

We were both in Zone B, which was nearest the start line (apart from Elites and Fast Paced Club Runners). Several selfies later (he loves a selfie does Andrew…)

Andrew and Andy at the start line
Andrew and Andy at the start line
....and again, looking pretty excited about it all
….and again, looking pretty excited about it all

and we were off. It only took us around 40 seconds to cross the start line which was a real bonus.

a lot of people getting to cross the start line
a lot of people getting to cross the start line

The Race

My race went okay, certainly up until the half way point. I set off quick (it’s difficult not to as the first mile or so is downhill).

I had aspirations of 1 hour 35 minutes, and when I passed the Duracell pacer at 5k I felt good and thought the time was achievable.

When the same pacer went back past me at about 10 miles I was already slowing down quite rapidly and didn’t have the legs or the energy to stay with them. The coast was a very welcome sight (as always) and the last mile was tough but enjoyable. I even managed a bit of a “sprint” to finish in 1hour 37, which not quite what I wanted it was a minute off last years’ time.

Andrew on the other hand had a fantastic race. Unlike me he took the sensible option of pacing slightly slower at the beginning which left him with the energy and legs to finish very strongly. He finished in an amazing time of 1 hour 42, knocking an astonishing 20 minutes off his time from last year. A massive contender for Pumas performance of the year if ever I saw one!

To say he ran at a supersonic pace, Andy's still standing at the end (and smiling too!)
To say he ran at a supersonic pace, Andy’s still standing at the end (and smiling too!)
Andrew, rocking a finish line selfie, and an amazing new PB
Andrew, rocking a finish line selfie, and an amazing new PB

The Great North Run truly is a fantastic event. It’s difficult to appreciate until you have taken part, but being one of over 50,000 runners, many with very personal and touching reasons to be running, really is inspirational. We can also say that we have been in the same race as Mo Farah although he paced his race better than I did but perhaps not as well as Andrew!

I would encourage any Pumas to give the Great North Run a try – you won’t regret it and I will be back for my 12th year in 2017.


Andy Haslam 1:37:00
Andrew Tudor 1:42:38
Janine Dyson TBC
Paul Pickering 2:31:05
Lizzie Jones 3:14:56
Lyndsey Grix 3:14:57
Stephanie Coyle 3:14:55
Susan Burlison 2:42:25