KATIE BULMER-COOKE: Let the GNR be your inspiration

Great North Run 2016 finishers.
Great North Run 2016 finishers.
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A week on from this year’s Great North Run and I’m still buzzing, although thankfully my legs have stopped aching!

This was my third time pounding the route from Newcastle to South Shields and I went into it with my fitness levels through the roof and all fired up to run another personal best.

I was lucky enough to be right on the start line this year and saw all the elite athletes go off, including the legend that is Mo Farrah. The atmosphere was second to none and everyone was excited and nervous to get going.

Once I set off I felt brilliant, I was running well and my non-stop clock watching meant I was right on track to hit my PB, until the 5 mile mark, when disaster struck and...I needed the toilet.

Now that totally scuppered my PB plans, so as I re-joined the crowds I had a rethink. I decided to stop putting myself under the pressure of hitting a certain time and instead just enjoy my running, after all, I love running, so that’s exactly what I did. I took my foot off the gas and started to simply enjoy the world’s biggest half marathon.

So I spent the remainder of the run high-fiving people, reading all the words on the charity vests that people were wearing and of course eating my own body weight in ice pops and oranges (it was a scorcher!).

Speaking of ice pops and oranges, I’ve got to give a shout out to everyone that turned out to line the streets, cheer on on runners and dish out little snacks and drinks to keep everyone going. I really don’t think you would find another run, any where else in the world where the spectators are as kind as those in the north east.

So now that the run is over for another year, I wonder how it leaves the people of Sunderland and the north east feeling...and I’m not talking about the post run aches and pains. I’m talking about inspiration and motivation.

In the last week I’ve spoken to loads of people who’ve said they are 100% going to take part next year...but will they?

For me, I hope that they do, but I also hope that the event also inspires people in our region to simply move more and increase their activity levels.

Being inspired by the Great North Run doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do the Great North Run. It could mean that you just get outdoors and do some power walking down at the beach or around your local park or that you join your local gym, take part in a class or even run a 5k race.

We have a big problem in our city with inactivity and obesity and we must move our bodies more if we want to have healthier lives, that is a fact. So if you sat at home watching the Great North Run last week and said to yourself ‘I could never do that’, my first response would be ‘yes you can’ (because I believe that if you work hard enough at anything you can achieve it) and secondly I’d say ‘if not the Great North Run, then just do something.’

Move more, be mindful of the food and drink you consume and do one thing everyday that takes you one step closer to a healthier you, and who knows what you might achieve.