With my second and third year accommodation less than 2 minutes from the start line, it would have seemed like a crime to see through my time at Newcastle without experiencing the legendary Great North Run. After managing to secure a charity place early summer 2019, the excitement began to build as I started training for the North East’s most iconic race. With the promise of great atmosphere, amazing crowd support and a wonderful sense of achievement at the finish, the world’s biggest half marathon did not disappoint. It was a beautifully sunny day which made it all the more perfect. Motivational chants in the tunnel, music stations at every distance milestone and fresh slices of orange offered by eager spectators took the run to a new level. Crossing the finish line alongside my dad and dozens of other runners was an incredible moment and it’s a day I know I’ll remember for a long time.
I'm not shy on sharing the fact that I completed this challenge. If you look on the back row of our Courier 2019/20 team photo, you'll see me looking gormless with my 'Tough Mudder 2019' headband on. I just feel a lot of pride when I think about it. I'm nowhere near the image of an athlete, so the fact that I managed to complete it makes me feel like I can do anything. Being with my closest mates, on a not-so-rainy day stumbling through muddy obstacles was equally fun as it was exhausting. I've already spoken about the day in detail, for the first article I ever wrote for The Courier Sport (available here).
I’ve got a lot to choose from here, from cup finals to saving penalties in tournaments, but I think my all-time favourite stems from a moment in my GCSE PE practical examinations. It may not be as cool as the Great North Run or Tougher Mudder- but the feeling I got from this hour assessment has stayed with me. For the practical, you had to choose four sports, so I chose football, tennis, fitness and handball. I never played handball in school, but played for a club outside of school, making it a clear option as one of my choices. On the day, I went into the hall and it was all lads from my year, and only one other girl. We were promptly split into teams and the assessment was underway, with one small issue for me- that the boys on my team thought a girl couldn’t play sports and so they refused to pass to me. This happened for the bulk of the game, with my “team-mates” picking out harder passes so I wouldn’t get the ball. I protested to the teacher, asking how on earth I was meant to do well if I couldn’t show off my skills, and he just said “play on” and that’s when I had enough. I forced our goalkeeper to pass to me, and when he did, I dribbled the ball up the length of the pitch, dodging my players and the opposition before scoring a goal and turning to my team and asking if they were going to start passing to me. In dumbstruck silence, they agreed and I became the main goal-scorer in my practical exam.