Having not run before, the Great South run was the first event I signed up for in 2010. Ever since then I’ve been hooked and have entered every year since (apart from one when I had a dodgy knee). This is definitely my favourite race and I’d also say my favourite distance.
We arrived in good time and parked on the common. The usual toilet ritual took place and in no time at all I was in the starting pen. It was pretty windy as it often is along the seafront, so although I was looking to improve on my time I wasn’t too hopeful. I decided to find the 1hour 25 pacer and see how long I could keep up (I had the same plan last year but failed!)
Within the first few hundred metres I’d established the pacers name (David) and told him I’d be sticking to him like glue. Miles one and two passed and the pace was spot on. He then told me that he wanted to be two minutes ahead of schedule by mile eight to allow for the headwind on the last two miles. (Which he said would ‘shred us!’) My heart sank a little at this point thinking I doubt I’d be able to keep up, however I carried on, chipping 10-15 seconds off of each mile. By mile four another runner Dan joined us and we had the occasional chat about races and PBs.
Mile eight came and I was surprised how normal I felt!! I turned the corner and there came the wind. Although strong it was no where near as bad as I thought it would be. One year it was so strong it felt like running up a steep hill all the way! At this point I ditched the pacer (sorry David) and decided to see if I could keep up with Dan who had edged ahead. I told Dan my plan and was so glad I did. He was running a couple of metres in front but kept checking and encouraging me every 20-30 seconds. We put a bit of a surge in to overtake Ironman (can’t be beaten by Ironman!) and carried on along the seafront. By 9 miles I was feeling exhausted and had I not had Dan keeping me going I definitely would have slowed down. 200 metres to go and Dan ups the pace for a sprint finish, all the time screaming COME ON!!! to me. I had no choice but to keep up even though I felt like I had nothing left. My face certainly would have said exactly how I was feeling and I was very grateful that the camera didn’t catch me!
I crossed the line in 1.22.16 a pb by over 5 minutes. To my surprise the last 2 miles were my fastest, both sub 8 minutes which I have never done before. To say I was chuffed is an understatement! I was so grateful to Dan for keeping me going- a friendly runner makes all the difference!!
Portsmouth, I’ll see you next year xx