Great North Run…

I remember signing up for the Great North Run and telling myself it was months away and that I had plenty of time to prepare. How wrong I was! Weeks crept by, other things were at the forefront of my mind (more on that later), and suddenly it was 3 days until I had to do a half marathon.

Preparation had seen me do certain changes, but not in a particularly strict fashion. I was eating healthier, but was still enjoying pints of lager. I had been running, but not very far, and I was giving up very easily. There was no way I was going to be able to do this and feel a sense of pride.

To be perfectly honest, at this point The Great North run wasn’t particularly high on my agenda. I’d been at The Children’s Foundation for 5 months, and whilst I had loved volunteering, I still hadn’t secured a full time job, despite also doing unpaid work at a PR agency. This focus was taking up all of my time and I need a lucky break.

Then it all changed, after going through two interviews and completing a writing task, I was offered a position at UNW LLP, an accountancy firm in the city centre. I received my offer on my birthday, and without job hunting taking up my time, decided to spend the month training hard.

8 mile runs, swimming and healthy food were at the top of my agenda (although I didn’t deny myself the odd treat of course) and I’d felt fitter than I ever had before.

When the day came, to my surprise, I felt very very excited. Seeing the crowds, all running with their own stories and reasons in mind, was truly awe inspiring. I had received some very sad news the night before, which made me even more determined to make a good account of myself.

2 hours 18 minutes it took me to complete, and I didn’t stop once! (except for two truly horrific toilet stops, but enough about that)

The Great North Run was the best thing I’ve ever done. Mile 4 was the toughest, it was hot (as a ginger we don’t cope well in heat) and Peppa Pig ran past me and blocked me for around 1km, but after that I hit my stride, and it gave me a sense of pride I have never experience prior.

Getting home was a nightmare mind.

The run means that I have raised over £400 for The Children’s Foundation, and for that I couldn’t be happier. Without them giving me a chance, and finding me other PR work, I would never have secured my new job, which I also love. The money is only a small way to repaying my gratitude.


Niall Cafferkey.