How Did I Find It? – My Great North Run Experience!

On Sunday 8th September 2019 I ran and completed the Great North Run in aid of the animal home charity Mayhew. (And also SMASHED one of my 2019 goals!)

I hadn’t taken part in an event like the Great North Run before nevermind ran the distance. Therefore, I wanted to write a post to document my experience and thoughts. (And also because I’m really proud of myself!)

Why did you do it?

In 2016, I was supposed to run the Manchester Half Marathon. I had trained and organised. However, I ended up not being able to do it due to family illness.

Therefore, when I saw the Great North Run 2019 ballot open, on one winter evening in 2019, I signed up. Not having heard of Mayhew before, I read into the work they were doing and I knew I wanted to support them. My family dog, Missy, also passed away during December 2019 and I wanted to run for her.

My dog Missy - the reason I ran the Great North Run for Mayhew.

I signed up for the Great North Run for a challenge. I kept going to raise money to ensure that Mayhew’s cats and dogs can be loved just as much as our family loved Missy.

What was the Great North Run atmosphere like?


There was just so many people coming together to either take part or support. Thank you to the spectators handing our ice lollies and orange slices – you saved me when I left my snack in the car. Thank you to the people handing out water – you literally saved me.

The thousands of people heading to the start line of the Great North Run 2019.

I ran along the sides near the pavement so I ran along high-fiving the kids who put their hands out. Nabbing all the vegan-friendly snacks I could get.

The atmosphere really helped me keep going with people cheering my name when they could see I was DYING at mile 11.

I also thought I would mention the immense amount of cheering and noises that the runners made when Sir Mo Farah went up to the starting line.

Okay, but how was the actual run?


The run was HARD. I knew I could run the distance but I didn’t expect to find it as hard as I did. Running alongside tens of thousands of people was a new experience. I struggled to find my pace at the start, all caught up in the shouts of ‘OGGY OGGY OGGY‘. But, after my wee-break about 30-minutes in, I found my pace.

Didn’t get much easier though. Mile 10 onwards was unexplainably difficult for me. I had no earphones or friends so I had to distract myself in anyway possible. So, I started counting to 100. Every breath I took was 1. I think I counted to 100 about 7 times. But, it worked.

Me at the finish with my Great North Run medal

I am always a finish line sprinter so I saw the mile signs turn into metres and I WENT FOR IT. Once I got past the not being able to physically move (two helpers actually came up to me to ask if I was okay – thank you to you too.) the finishing feeling was unreal.

Sure, I found it hard. But, I finished it. (In 2 hours and 26 minutes.) I was and still, am so proud of myself. My one rule was that I could run as slow as I wanted but I was not allowed to walk. The mental battle I had to go through to keep to that was insane but I did it and I’m SO proud.

Would you do the Great North Run again?


It is the Great North Run’s 40th anniversary in 2020 and I’m quite keen to try to take part. But, I need a friend. I’m not worried about beating PBs, I just want to have a good time.

Me in the car with my Great North Run 2019 medal!

Any tips?

  • THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE!!!!! This does mean the lines for everything are going to be long and busy. The line for the toilets at the start was probably longer than the 13.1 miles so come prepared.
  • If you are driving then I recommend parking your car in South Shields and getting the metro to the start line. The car park we parked in was £1 for the day, a 2-minute walk to the metro and we didn’t have to wait for the metro queues at the finish.
  • Eat before you run. I forgot my snack and I ended up starting the run hungry – not what you want.
  • You don’t have to bring your own water bottle – they provide THOUSANDS.
  • Don’t forget to wave at every single camera you see!

Have you taken part in a half marathon before? I am keen to hear your experiences and thoughts!

I also want to say a HUGE thank you to every one of you that sponsored me. I raised a total of £537 for Mayhew and I couldn’t be happier.

Until next time my friends!

-Millie 🙂

Pinterest graphic with me standing celebrating finishing with Great North Run 2019 medal


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