Sally ran the Great North Run half-marathon after her sister was diagnosed with MS. Here are her tips for people who are taking on the challenge for the first time.
Why did you decide to take part in the Great North Run?
For my sister Katie, who was diagnosed with MS 12 years ago. She’s an absolute inspiration and I never cease to be amazed by her energy and enthusiasm for life, despite at times suffering with some pretty severe symptoms. MS is a cruel disease – the symptoms can come and go in some people, and my sister is great at putting on a brave face, so it can be easy to forget how tough life can be day-to-day. Taking on a long-distance run was my way of doing something a bit tough to show her I care.
What training tip would you recommend for those taking on the Great North Run for the first time?
Hills, hills and more hills. I ran up Greenwich Hill A LOT in the weeks before Great North Run and massively boosted my stamina.
Try and do a half marathon before the actual day – all the experts will prob say to not to do this, but for me knowing that I could do the distance meant I could really go for it on the day.
What surprised you most about the course?
How lovely and friendly the crowds were. They really kept me going and I was very grateful for the home-made ice lollies being handed out at mile 8 by some lovely people.
How emotional I felt as I came over the hill at the end. The view was amazing, the finish line was in sight and suddenly all the months of training felt so worth it.
What are your top fundraising tips for others?
Give people fun reasons to give. I did ‘count the number of sweets in a jar’ with my colleagues and it helped boost my donations a lot. It also then gave me a softer way to tell them about my sister and why I was running.