Taking on my first half marathon

I can’t quite believe it but I’m taking part in my first ever half marathon – the Great North Run – gulp!

For those of you who read my 30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30 post back in November you will know that number 22 was about me wanting to run a proper 5k – despite the fact I am not a runner by any means!

But come Sunday September 9th I’ll be going a much longer distance (crawling, walking, crying) my way through 13.1 miles (that’s half-a-bleeding-marathon) from my native Newcastle to the coast at South Shields.

So how did I got myself into this mess? 

It all started when I was out having a few drinks (mocktails for me as I was driving) with two of my closest friends and we got talking about how we’d like to do the Great North Run one day.

So when this year’s ballot opened we were chatting on WhatsApp and decided to take the plunge and apply – including Steve.

Now I didn’t think for one minute that my name would actually be picked because thousands of people apply every single year; so you can imagine my shock when I received the email to say I had bagged myself a place.

My confirmation of my place in the Great North Run

My confirmation of my place in the Great North Run

Yep this shit just got real immediately sprung to mind!

After a quick call with the hubby he checked his emails and sure enough we’d both been selected – what are the odds?!

This meant there was no getting out of training – with both of us in it for the long haul – extra large gulp.

Before I could start pounding the pavement I naturally needed to get myself kitted out (any excuse for a trip to the shops). So now here I am – all the gear no idea.

My new very bright stretchy running gear

My new very bright stretchy running gear

I bought stretchy bright clothes and purple running trainers with special gel insoles to hopefully take some of the pressure off the old knees which meant the only thing left to do was actually get outside and go bloody running.

My new running trainers

GNR training has tentatively started and I’m still not a proper runner but at least I am trying!

Steve and I went on a run together yesterday evening and it was our best yet. So fingers crossed with more training we will continue to get better!

I’ve had a few tips from friends who are actual proper runners – doing marathons and park runs regularly because they like it and I’m hoping to improve month on month.

In October 2016 I did a 5k Pretty Muddy obstacle run which I was surprised I was able to do relatively ok!

So despite the fact that I’m massively unfit, asthmatic and I hate drinking water but I’m gonna give it a proper go – as I’m hoping to raise some money as well as putting myself through physical and mental torture!

A before and after my first run

Although I was lucky to bag a ballot place I am hoping to raise money for Diabetes UK as it is really close to my heart.

Someone is diagnosed with diabetes approximately every two minutes. And there are more than 140 amputations a week in the UK due to diabetes related complications.

So I’m hoping to raise money to help Diabetes UK bring about life-changing breakthroughs in care, treatment and prevention.

If you have any spare pennies please feel free to make a donation via my Justgiving Page here. I’ll be super grateful, thank you.

Steve is hoping to raise money for Alzheimer’s UK as this is another amazing charity so close to both our hearts and his donation page can be found here. He’d be super grateful too for any support at all.

So between now and September if you’re around the Durham area and happen to see an overweight brunette gasping for air clad in bright lycra – it’s more than likely me – please try not to laugh (too hard).

I’m not under any illusion that I will finish with a fantastic time I’m just hoping to cross the finish line at all really – and hopefully not be the last person over it.


Have you got any running tips you could share with me? Have you ran a half or full marathon before? Let me know in the comments below.


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16 thoughts on “Taking on my first half marathon

  1. LaurenEph says:

    I am totally in awe of anyone who can run any distances! I’m sure you will be amazing- and think how proud you will be when it’s over!! Btw – I think i have the same running trousers you have, but using them for walking and cycling instead x

    Liked by 1 person

    • rachaelstray says:

      I’m hoping I can do it! They are so comfy!! I think I’ll get more. Don’t think two pairs are enough. We are thinking of getting some bikes and cycling there’s some amazing cycling routes on our doorstep!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emmalene aka A Brummie Home and Abroad says:

    I bow down to you in awe Mrs! I ran once… never again! (I actually started a “jogblog” alongside my main blog hoping it would inspire me i I could at least write about it – didn’t work). I’ll be following your progress and will happily sponsor you if you give us another reminder closer to the time x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Casey says:

    Half marathons are honestly amazing! I ran my first last June and have since run 6 other halfs, 2 fulls and one ten miler. Honestly, don’t even worry about your time. Just have fun. If you focus on the time rather than the finish, it won’t be a fun run for you. Finish this one and then on your next half focus on a time:) Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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