Great North Run training diary 7: Claire Armstrong

ON THE RUN: Great North Run training diary supported by Kirklees Active Leisure.
ON THE RUN: Great North Run training diary supported by Kirklees Active Leisure.

Reporter Series journalists Georgina Morris, Lauren Ballinger and Claire Armstrong are competing in this year’s Great North Run in aid of Action for Children.

They’re sharing their progress with readers along the way as the team at Kirklees Active Leisure does its best to get them ready for the challenge ahead.

Claire writes:

“If you’re travelling through Dewsbury on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, chances are you might see a brave band of people run by, decked out in every shade of day-glo.

“These are the Dewsbury Road Runners, a great bunch who get together to go out jogging in a group. They all meet at Dewsbury Sports Centre, where Kirklees Active Leisure has given them a notice board to advertise their upcoming events.

“Teams of beginner, intermediate and advanced runners then head off on outdoor runs of varying lengths which all take a circular route, ending back at the sports centre.

“Running can, of course, be quite a solitary experience, so going out with a team is a real boost.

“My colleagues and fellow Great North Runners Georgina Morris and Lauren Ballinger have been joining the Road Runners a fair bit over the past few months, and say they’ve really noticed an improvement in their stamina.

“Until last week, I had only been out with the Road Runners once, when a beginners’ group had gone out on a short run along the picturesque canal.

I had struggled to keep up with those at the front, but the leader and another runner were quite happy to join me at the back, taking plenty of rest breaks.

“Last Thursday, I went along again, feeling fairly confident that I’d be better at keeping up with the crowd this time.

‘No problem!’ I thought to myself, when I heard there was no short run that night, and that we would be going out on a six-mile medium run. Never mind that I hadn’t ever run that far before, this would be fine!

“Then I saw the route we were taking. Straight up the nightmarish hill of Wakefield Road. By the time we got to the top, there was simply no energy left in my legs.

“We then turned off the road and onto a boggy cross-country path – again uphill.

“My bursts of running became shorter and shorter, as I struggled to get my breath back.

“The run leader was staying behind with me to make sure I didn’t get lost, but I could see I was holding everyone else up.

“So about two miles in, I’m sorry to say, I pulled out.

“We’re less than two months away from the Great North Run, and I can’t even complete half the distance.

“That finish line is feeling very, very far away.”