Running with a Proper Runner

This week my virtual runners are Julia Bainbridge, Lorna, Joe Edge and my actual running partner is Clara.

I have to be honest this is the week of running I have been waiting for, it includes the Great North 10k and the Toddler Dash.

Date: 05.07.17

Location: Newcastle

Distance: 5.1 miles

Time: 45:01

Run notes: You may remember that not so long ago I had set my sights on a segment on Strava that I didn’t quite make the top spot by 3 seconds. 3 seconds!! What is that?! Any way. I vowed that I would try again.

Tonight was that night. The running plan was 40 minutes easy and oh yes my friend I was going to take it easy as I made my way to the segment then sprint like hell to the end before taking it easy again.

I like to say I am not competitive and I take things easy, but who am I kidding?! This was my chance to win a crown, I never get that chance. I am so close but I wondered will I ever make it?!

It was a gorgeous evening and I was following a route Paul had run the previous weekend. I warmed up with a relatively quick pace, getting myself ready for action. Down the hill to the round about, turning the corner and back up the steady climb (if your driving you wouldn’t realise you going up a hill unless you looked left as you over took a pedestrian and saw me gasping my way up).

Here I was. The segment. Although I tried to prepare myself I can never quite remember where the segment starts or ends, so I run like a bat out of hell for as long as I possibly could. The interesting thing was this was still relatively comfortable.


Soon I was catching my breath and back running at a more sedate pace. The nerves of not knowing how I had done, makes the rest of my run even more exciting. I am taking my running plan seriously so after 45 minutes when my route hadn’t take me to my door, I stopped running and briskly walked home to stretch. I’ve got to take care of my legs after all.

Once across the threshold I immediately reached for my phone to sync my watch with Strava. Oh the time it took to upload. Then with whoops of joy it was time for a victory lap of the hall way! I had a crown! Which meant I had done it! Female Course Record Holder for the ‘Mont-a-Who’ segment! Mont-a-Who? Mont-a-Lucy Pritchard thank you very much!


Now this may seem a small and silly triumph, but there are a lot of runners out there who are a lot faster than me, I am never going to win a race but I had achieved something. I had set my mind to something and worked to win that virtual crown!


Average pace: 8:33/mile

Splits: (min/mile)

– Mile 1 – 8:53

– Mile 2 – 7:50

– Mile 3 – 9:04

– Mile 4 – 9:27

– Mile 5 – 8:44

– 0.1 Mile – 8:05

Achievements: 1 x course record (WAHOOOOOOO!), 9th overall segment time


Date: 06.07.17

Location: Gosforth, Newcastle

Distance: 9.00 miles

Time: 01:22:40

Run notes: Tonight’s run was to be 1 mile easy, then 14 x 90 seconds at 3k to 5k race pace (60 seconds) (90 seconds) – 35 minutes at Marathon pace (quite long session in all). I am mean what does that even mean?! Except for a whole lot of no fun. I was avoiding this run, through my best efforts of procrastination, but Paul quickly cottoned on and had me out running with a smile and encouragement with a shout of ‘Remember the first step is the hardest!’

Not only was it difficult to run fast in the heat but I LOSE COUNT AT REPS! I wasn’t sure where I was running to thinking the distraction of making up the route as I go would help me but it did anything but. I don’t have enough fingers to count 14 reps so I may have done a few more.


If it wasn’t for the company of Julia, Joe and Lorna I would have been in trouble. Would you believe it if I said I actually missed the hill reps?! I didn’t feel as much of a sense of achievement as I ran these merry reps of hell passed the bemused cows on the Town Moor, I can’t see how far up a hill I am going. Maybe I missed a trick, perhaps I should have run passed the same group of cows and see if I could get passed just one more four legged friend as I went. Then again they would have probably moved.

All in all, it was a job done and I managed to plod through 9 miles for which I am sure I will see a difference one day.

Average pace: 9:03min/mile


– Mile 1 – 9:42

– Mile 2 – 8:41

– Mile 3 – 7:51

– Mile 4 – 8:22

– Mile 5 – 8:43

– Mile 6 – 9:35

– Mile 7 – 9:34

– Mile 8 – 10:01

– Mile 9 – 9:24

Achievements: 4 x segment personal record


Date: 06.07.17

Location: Gosforth, Newcastle

Distance: 16 miles

Time: 02:30:30

Run notes: I switched my day to do a long run to a Saturday as tomorrow was the big day! It was very hot outside, the dry sort of heat. I took my usual route through the wagon ways and countryside and was thoroughly enjoying the scenery until the path out of the woods at Havannah Nature Reserve. The nature reserve itself is beautiful, it is a lovely place to run through, with a beautiful lake often decorated with swimming swans (do birds swim?!) but this path was a bog. It had been muddy the week before (where I got stung in the arm pit by a very high nettle whilst trying to avoid the mud), but now it was just un-passable. I took a quick turn to the left, having over the weeks seen several people walking in out of this new route, however it appeared to only take me in a loop through boggy grass back to where I had started. As I mumbled and grumbled to Julia, Joe and Lorna I took another detour and made my way to my half way point and water station. Only it was a half way point it was in total a 12 mile point, and in this heat I was very thirsty by the time I reached my beloved bottle of water.

After quenching my thirst I carried on back on my usual route, but as the miles ticked over I became more and more huffy. My legs had really started to ache, thanks to my unplanned detour and I knew I was still well over a mile away from my car. But do you know what I quickly realised that’s OK. Once I reached 16 miles I stopped and carried on walking as my cool down. My calves were really tight and I didn’t want to spoil anything for the next day, so I got a bit sad then pulled myself together, rang Beth talked about the run tomorrow, then Paul and chatted about how I felt and life was fine again.

They talk about having tough runs, this was definitely one of them, but I can only hope it makes me stronger for the next one.

Average pace: 9:56min/mile


– Mile 1 – 9:56

– Mile 2 – 9:47

– Mile 3 – 9:29

– Mile 4 – 9:38

– Mile 5 – 11:10

– Mile 6 – 9:34

– Mile 7 – 9:33

– Mile 8 – 10:20

– Mile 9 – 9:43

– Mile 10 – 10:00

– Mile 11 – 9:59

– Mile 12 – 10:00

– Mile 13 – 9:59

– Mile 14 – 10:33

– 0.95 Mile – 9:00

Achievements: Running in that heat! And doing it sensibly! 2 x segment personal records

Date: 09.07.17

Location: Gateshead Stadium, Gateshead

Distance: 6.2miles

Time: 49:32

Run notes: Today was the day. The Gateshead Great North 10k. The pre run for the Great North Run offered by the Great Run group. My story had featured in their publicity bringing a lot of welcome awareness raising for MS and the MS Trust.

It was an early start. I hadn’t slept very well as I had developed that fear that you get that you’ll sleep in and miss something. Paul was away in Northumberland at his annual festival trip with his cousins. He was going to meet me at the finish at Gateshead Stadium. Dad had kindly agreed after a long discussion regarding logistics the previous night to pick me and my bag up (really early) and take me to the nearest metro station. Knowing that Mum and Dad would also be meeting me at the finish with my stuff, was great as it meant that I could run free. Don’t get me wrong, a runners pouch (a slimline version of a bumbag) is extremely handy, but I love being able to just run with no added baggage.  However this took a lot of planning (most people know I always forget something). I had packed and unpacked my back several times before I was happy.

I had checked the Metro times on the website as well as the cost of a one way ticket. So Dad and I cobbled the correct money together (I had no-where for any change) and with water bottle in hand and tissues tucked in my trousers we were off. It took two attempts to buy my ticket (me running wildly back to Dad in the car) when I discovered the ticket cost more than had been promoted on the website. Oh the tension! Don’t miss Dad before he drives off, then don’t miss the Metro before it goes! (It was a Sunday so they’re not as regular as normal).

Safely on the platform with ticket in hand (I had nowhere to put this either) I quickly realised I was surrounded by other anxious runners, all proudly displaying their numbers. It was now when I noticed the different colours of the numbers. I was in the white wave although I didn’t know quite what that meant, and was worried that in some fit of ambitious had recorded that I could run 10k in a ludicrously fast time. After discussing times with runners displaying a variety of coloured numbers I felt that I would be OK. It was such a lovely atmosphere, everyone was chatting with each other, locals and visitors alike. The poor couple who were standing with their cases (obviously having got on the train straight from the airport) were looking very bemused as they were surrounded by Lycra clad runners.

As I got off the Metro, the sun was shining bright. I chatted with a lady who had travelled with her son from down South just for the run, and we followed the crowd to the Stadium.

Whilst waiting in the inevitable very long queue for the porter loos, I bumped in to three girls who were also running for The MS Trust. I was absolutely thrilled to meet other MS Trust Running Club members. We chatted and exchanged experiences, Katie and her two friends were running their first 10k run in memory of Katie’s mum who had MS. They were being supported by Katie’s Dad. I think I may have been a bit over enthusiastic about how thrilled I was to meet them, but I really wanted them to know how brilliant it felt to meet people who were doing something fantastic for people with MS.

We wished each other luck and I headed off to the start line. I bumped into another couple who were looking for their daughter so they could wave her off at the start. They reminded me of my Mum and Dad, and we chatted away until they found her. Then it was the warm up. It was still a gorgeous sunny day and this meant it was warm but I joined in the warm up with enthusiasm. It was apparently delivered by an ex-Apprentice contestant and I thought her level of enthusiasm was great. Honestly I was busy with such happy energy, that when I bumped into a chap who was running for the MS Society, in honour of his Mum, I definitely think I frightened him with my enthusiastic thanks from the MS community and he quickly moved off!

I was in my white number pen surrounded by hundreds of people I didn’t know and I couldn’t be feeling more excited or happy. No matter what happened, today was a great day! The countdown was on, then the waves of runners started moving. AS usual we started running slightly before the official start line, but my Garmin was on because every running step counts!

The run took me through a trading estate down hill to the Gateshead Quayside. Once there was up and down the lumps and bumps passing crowds of supporters and groups of hen and stag parties nursing their sore heads. The route takes you to a point and then you turn round and run back towards the stadium, so it wasn’t long before the super fast runners were running past the other way. Because of the organisation at the start, you never felt bunched in and there was always room to move (and luckily access the water stop easily).

Soon I was making like an aeroplane soaring around the cone to mark the half way point and heading back to the Stadium myself, knowing that I would be meeting Paul, Mum, Dad, Beth, Chris, Clara and Eliza, who were waiting to cheer me in. It was such motivation. As I made my way along I spotted Paul Sharpe (and the other two Pauls) making the run look easy. We yelled hello and carried on! Next I spotted another MS Trust Runner who I knew from the MS Trust Running Club would be running. I yelled ‘well done!’ so enthusiastically at her she just looked shocked and confused. As I was climbing back up the hill (Dad you were right, those hill reps were definitely worth it!) I spotted Katie and the girls looking great running and we exchanged big smiles and hello’s. We were doing this!

I ran along the side of the river where I passed a sporadic supporter who I thank for their support (I always do this, because I think us runners should show our appreciation for the supporters who give up their time, to stand, no matter the weather, and provide that much needed motivation to people that they don’t even know). Then came the ‘Slog on the Tyne’. I heard about this hill, so disliked by previous runners the run organisers gave it it’s own name and big build up. It was tough right at the 5th mile, but we’d come down to the Quayside so I always knew we would have to go back up to the stadium at some point. I always think just keep putting one step in front of the other and you’ll get there in the end. Sure enough I turned a corner and we were running directly towards the stadium. To be honest I have started to get a bit emotional as I get towards the finish line of any organised run. It sounds crazy, but knowing that I will soon see people that I love, giving their time to will me on and feeling the support of all of my virtual runners taking every step with me is very emotive!

As I ran into the stadium a wave of heat hit me, it almost became like running through treacle. I knew despite suddenly feeling sluggish I was flying, so I started to look for my family. There was so many people in the seats I couldn’t see them. Then I spotted two people waving maddly and recognised the bright coloured jackets. I know them from the year of crossing finishing lines and seeing them there in full support. Mum and Dad had made it. I beamed broadly, raised my hands like Clara and I had practised for the finisher’s wave of victory. I had done it!

I hadn’t been able to see Paul, and thought he must have struggled to find a parking space, but as I walked to claim my finishers medal, there he was standing directly beside the finishing line, I was thrilled he had been there to see me finish after he had talked me through what felt like a disaster yesterday!


Thank you Julia, Lorna and Joe for running with me this week. We experience some lows but an awful lot of hights, and this obviously was turning into a great day of running, take a look at my splits and achievements. It’s amazing what being happy can do to your run.

Now to find the Warwicks and my Proper Runner…

Average pace: 9:56min/mile


– Mile 1 – 7:46

– Mile 2 – 7:50

– Mile 3 – 7:59

– Mile 4 – 7:55

– Mile 5 – 8:03

– Mile 6 – 7:51

– 0.2 Mile – 2:05

Achievements: Fastest 10k


Date: 09.07.17

Location: Gateshead Stadium, Gateshead

Distance: 0.1miles

Time: It doesn’t matter

Run notes: I got into some warmer clothes so as not get stiff, whilst we waited for the run of the day. As I was stretching the Warwicks joined us in the stand. Apparently Clara had also had an early start , she was so looking forward to her first proper run and had spent the morning chasing her parents to get ready so they could leave. She was apparently ready and trying to get out the front door 3 hours before the run was due to start.


Preparing for our run with energy providing Monster Munch and our Proper Runner’s Headband

Soon the time had come. We could see little people gathering on the other side of the stadium. So after saying ‘See you soon, Fat Balloon’ to our cheering squad we made a move.

I can’t tell you how excited Clara and I both were as we made our way around to the other side of the stadium to join the crowd of little runners and responsible adults waiting to walk on to the track. Clara was in the Lightening Bolt group (very appropriate) but in the end all of the runners went in together. The stadium felt silent and there was a real sense of anticipation in the air. Clara and I looked across both side of the track to spot her Mummy, Daddy, Grandma, Grampa and Uncle Paul waving in the crowds. I had a tear in my eye because it was so lovely to be joined on a run, by someone who was so keen and excited to be proper running with her Auntie.

As we walked to the start line we kept on waving but things were getting a little nervous. There were lots of people there, then the official warm up started and when we could hear it we were stretching like the professionals, and when we couldn’t we were wiggling our bottoms like the bees (we love replicating the waggle dance). It was only when I noticed other responsible parents doing the same I realised that people might be following us because we looked like proper runners!

Then there was what seemed like a long wait. It was quite packed by the start and some of the little runners were getting restless. But not Clara, she’d spotted Grandma and Grampa by the fence. We had a good chat about the run ahead and then suddenly the first wave of runners were off. We were next up so we wiggled our way through the crowd and made our way to the line so Clara could get a proper run.

Soon enough we were counting down from 10 and the loud claxon sounded to start us of (some of the little runners started to cry or running in the wrong direction because of the frightening sound). Clara and I held hands as we made it down the back straight, looking out for our supporters.


Once again, I probably waved too much, pointing out the faces and encouraging Clara to run. I was just so happy to have such a great running partner and wanted her to have the best experience possible.


Just look at the Proper Runner go!

We crossed the finishing line in style. Clara had done such a good job she was immediately asked for an official photo by the GNR team. As we walked to claim her finishers good bag, we were also stopped by the event’s main sponsor for an interview and photo. They all obviously recognise a proper runner when they see one!

Clara was thrilled to collect her finishers medal and water bottle. And what was that? A pack of special Proper Runner Cadbury’s Buttons?


A proper runner with her finishers medal and her very proud Auntie. Could the smiles be any bigger?

Achievements: Running in that heat! And doing it sensibly! 2 x segment personal records

Thank you Clara for joining me on this fantastic run, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and you continue to find enjoyment in all things (including Proper Running). Proving that these girls can! I hope that one day I will motivate some one as much as you motivated me xx

4 thoughts on “Running with a Proper Runner

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