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Great North Run 2022

Great North Run 2022

The Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world, taking place annually in the North East. The 13.1 mile course starts from ZeroLight’s home in Newcastle upon Tyne along to the coast in South Shields.

Since the first event in 1981, where 12,000 runners participated this year there was a whopping 60,000 runners taking part.

Running is a popular sport at ZeroLight, so we spoke to some of those who took part this year!

Tom Leighton – Production Manager

Jordan Rorrison – Senior Motion Graphics Designer

Peter Davies – Technical Director

Helton Rosa – Creative Director

Andy Wan – Lead Vehicle Artist

Dan Banning – Data Analyst

Alan Kwok – Content Coordinator

What was your time, and how did you find the run this year?

Tom: 01:26.57 – found it tough, lots of heat management (pouring water over my head)

Jordan: My time this year was 01:43:26, I found the run tough especially because of the heat!

Peter: My time was 1:58:48. This is a course personal-best for me by a 'massive' 18 seconds. I did run almost 10 minutes faster on the loopback course last year, but the die-hards won't count this, as the official course is to run to South Shields. Overall, the run was great. It was surprisingly hot, and I used the water-stations more than usual. I knew I'd feel the pain after miles 9, 10 and 11, which are all uphill. So, I planned on getting into a nice up-tempo (but not too fast) rhythm at the start to 'bank' some time. Only when I got to the top of the hill towards the end of mile 12 did I let myself look at my watch and I could see I was in for a possible sub 2hr and PB.

Helton: First time I have ever ran 21k. Time was 2:31:41, not sure I'm doing this again as I'm still recovering 😋

Andy: 2:29:07, for my first ever Half Marathon distance and first ever GNR it was both tough and strangely enjoyable.

Dan: 1:45 – I found the first 8 miles quite easy and the last 3 absolutely horrendous.

Alan: I finished in a time 1:50:08, a bit disappointed with the time it being 5 mins slower than my PB, but the sunny conditions especially towards the last half put paid to any heroics. Last few miles were a slog.

What was your highlight from the day?

Tom: Getting a PB, cheering on Helton (only other ZL runner I saw) and my wife completing her first GNR.

Jordan: Having the support from the crowds and bands playing throughout the run was brilliant and it really helped to keep me going but the best part was the feeling when crossing the finish line down on the coast!

Peter: Seeing David Costello (ZeroLight’s QA Director) cheering us on from the side-lines definitely gave me a boost at about mile 6. Especially as my running partner had left me for dead at the start (with permission). Also, the fact that I managed to run/walk/limp another 10 miles back to the car near the start has given me the confidence that if I can handle 23 miles in one day, I probably won't die in the Kielder Marathon in 3 weeks.

Helton: Amazing the number of people gathered and going for the same goal. Great atmosphere! Seeing Tom Leighton. in the final stretch was a great boost of motivation.

Andy: Crossing the finish line, I only really remember the first 5 miles and the last 2 miles or so.  I was just so glad to actually get to the end.

Dan: The atmosphere was definitely a big highlight.

Alan: The atmosphere despite recent events was great to the point of overwhelming at times.

How did you prepare for the run?

Tom: Lots of long runs and interval training to prepare the body and the mind.

Jordan: I started training later that I would have liked but I went on a range of short and long runs on the build-up to the event. I made sure to have plenty carbs the night before and porridge on the morning of the event while rushing along to the start line!

Peter: Nothing special really. This year, it's just part of my marathon training. I do however have a favourite pre-GNR meal the night before: Chicken wrapped in Parma ham, loads of tagliatelle and a fresh tomato and spring-onion salsa on the side, I've made this every year. Porridge with banana for breakfast. I had covid earlier in the year and this certainly knocked me back fitness-wise and I'm just starting to get back up to where I was a year ago. So, I had convinced myself to not worry about time beforehand and just take it steady, especially in light of my plan to run on afterwards. But, while waiting in the starting pens, I couldn't help myself thinking of a pacing strategy to get sub two-hours.

Helton: Joined a few ParkRuns and followed the half-marathon training plan provided by the Great Run website.

Andy: I’ve been preparing for over 2 years, I had planned on running the GNR in 2020 so started running late 2019, I got advice from the other runners on the ZLRun group, and basically started running and building up to the big day.  Having never done any long distance running before I found the local ParkRun was a very good place to do regular running.

Dan: Mainly by running 5-10ks, with the occasional 8 mile over summer.

Alan: My running aim for this year has been to crack a 20 mile run with the aim of a marathon distance next year. All combined with plenty of Parkrun’s.

How long have you been interested in running?

Tom: Most of my life, taken more seriously about the last 10 years.

Jordan: I ran my first half in 2018 to raise money for Marie Curie and have wanted to keep up the running since then.

Peter: About 7 years, and this was my 5th GNR. I started running after I recovered from a knee injury from playing squash. I needed to do something and couldn't risk the twisting involved in squash for a while. I certainly caught the bug.

Helton: Did very little running prior to joining ZeroLight - the company's run club definitely inspired me into running along Newcastle's quayside. Great running motivation and tips from fellow runners too - thanks guys!

Andy: I’ve never been interested in running, I’ve always hated long distance running however 2020 would have 10 years since I moved to the North East so thought it would be good to do the GNR to mark 10 years of being here, but with Covid and missing out on the 2021 entry, the 2022 GNR was my first chance to run a big running event.

Dan: Not too long, I only started properly when I signed up for the GNR. Last few months I’ve definitely got a lot more interested in it.

Alan: I’ve been a casual runner for many years, but only really taking it seriously the last 3 years.

Any advice or tips for those thinking about taking part in the future?

Tom: Train for distance and not speed, make sure you are strong enough to be able to enjoy as much of it as possible. Atmosphere is 10/10 😊.

Jordan: Go for it! It’s an amazing feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line!

Peter: Be able to run at least 10 miles - and like Tom says don't worry about speed. And save more energy than you think you'll need for the last 800 metres on the seafront. Because it's all lies - that last 800m feels like at least 2 miles.

Helton: Just start slowly and keep running regularly, you'll get fit in no time and will be ready for this great event.

Andy: Enjoy the experience, it’s a really great event and the atmosphere on the day is amazing.  Don’t worry about times just run your own race and do your best.

Dan: Try and run close to the distance before the run, I really started to struggle for the last few miles as I hadn’t run over 8 miles in the lead up to it.

Alan: Don’t go too fast, too far a distance, too many times a week at first, up it all gently. Stretch before and after run, especially when you get to my age. At the race don’t go too fast at the start, it’s downhill, save some for the last 2 -3 miles, it’s a ling slow grind uphill. Most of all enjoy the occasion.