This year’s Great North Run was the first time that any TORQ athletes had entered this iconic race, with Stu Robinson and Paul Whittaker lining up with the likes of some other chap called Mo Farah? (apparently he’s a Good for Age qualifier). Sadly, we didn’t have our full Road Squad at this race, as Grant Johnson was unable to attend due to injury, however, the TORQ Performance Running guys certainly put on some amazing performances and didn’t dissapoint.
Stu Robinson’s account:
This was my third time at the GNR, on the Elite start line, and the GNR is one of my favourite races on the calendar; I always seem to run well here.
This year, I was using the race to check my fitness and to see how the last month of training had gone, before hitting a new phase in my training ahead of my target race at the end of October (the Frankfurt Marathon, where I’ll be looking to go under 2:20). This was going to be the only race on my calendar in the build up to Frankfurt. It really is a privilege to get an Elite number for the GNR and line up on the start line with some of the World’s best athletes; it’s always nice to line up alongside the likes of Mo Farah, Ryan Hall and some of the best British guys on the circuit.
The weather was again perfect, and I was keen to put in a good performance as a confidence booster for the next phase of training. The plan was just to go out hard and see how it goes! I’d planned to go off at a 5 min mile pace and maintain that for as long as I could. The race started and, as usual, it was a fast down hill start; it’s not a mile to worry about, it’s always fast! So I clicked off the next few miles and the pace was up and down in the group. I prefer to get into a rhythm, but the first five miles were up and down and we were operating at a 5 min mile pace. At this point, the group was getting stretched and a couple dropped off. I then had a difficult section, so also dropped slightly off the group. I thought I might have been tiring, but was surprised to be running just over a 5 min mile pace and averaged 5.03 for 8 miles. This is where the course has its hardest sections. It is slightly uphill and you turn into the breeze. I was still working well, and passed Ryan Hall, which gave me a mental boost.
I was still running well and could see I was closing on a few that had blown up a bit. Just before 12 miles is the short, sharp uphill, then the downhill to the sea front. I flew down the hill on to the seafront, with the wind behind me. I knew with 1 mile to go, I’d have to run a sub 5min mile to run under 68 mins, so I absolutely buried myself for the last mile. I ended up dipping under 68 minutes and just caught a few top lads, so finished 21st in 67.56. I walked away pleased with the result, not a PB, but a solid run, with no ease down and ready to attack the next phase of training.
Once again, the support and atmosphere was amazing. I will definitely be back! So I did a big warm down, then had my favourite TORQ Recovery drink (Cookies and Cream), popped on the Zeropoint Compression socks to aid recovery and set off back home. Overall it was a good weekend!
Paul Whitaker’s account:
This is a race that I’ve done many times before, and I always love going up to Newcastle to run the GNR! This race has such great organisation and an amazing atmosphere!
I travelled up to South Shields by car on the Saturday morning, in order to arrive in good time, so I could relax before the race the next day. After picking up my number from the Elite athlete hotel (always a pleasure), in Newcastle, I made my way back to my hotel to relax and have some good pre-race food.
After a good 9 hours sleep, I woke up early at 6.30am, to have my usual plain cereal, toast with a cup of tea and some water (I alway like to eat clean before a race, as this helps with the digestion of my race fuel during my run). As I was travelling to the start line, I sipped away on my TORQ Energy drink and decided to also have a TORQ gel before the start of the race (Rhubarb & Custard of course!).
The race started off well, with me running close to 5min miles up until the 10mile point, then for some reason, the course seemed hillier than it has done in the past, and as I got to 11 miles out, I really started to feel my legs tightening up. During the last mile I was overtaken by Stu Robinson (fellow TORQ athlete) and I finished in a time of 68.10 (14 seconds off Stu’s time).
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the result, and if in the future I run the GNR again, I think flying to Newcastle might be a better option for my legs! However, I had a great weekend of racing and enjoyed every second!
Onto the next race!
The TORQ Running Team is sponsored by the following and without them we would not be able to do what we do, thank you: