Four North Wales female runners each completed a virtual “solo” version of the Great North Run (GNR) last weekend in very hot and humid conditions.
Josie Davies, Kelly Alford and Rachel Morris ran separate individual half-marathons last Sunday on local, but very challenging courses.
Normally, the GNR is one of the country’s most prestigious and televised races, with tens of thousands of runners journeying from Newcastle to South Shields, but due to current Covid-19 restrictions, the event was changed this year for safety reasons, allowing all entrants to complete the required distance on their own patch.
Josie opted to run her 13.1 miles in the heat around Llandudno, on a route that included two gruelling circuits of the Great Orme and a bit more, with several friends and fellow athletes sharing part of the same route during the GOG’s Big Weekender event.
The endurance runner also used this latest distance to finalise her incredible 58-day fundraising challenge for the NHS, where she struck gold, recording an amazing total of 313.5-miles from 40 varied solo efforts.
Josie said: “I think this was the hardest half I’ve ever done. It was so windy on top of the Orme, twice, and was the last of these runs.”
She added: “It’s been a tough few months for all of us, but these challenges have kept me motivated.”
Another intrepid endurance runner for the GOG’s was Sara Tuck, who claimed silver after completing a grand total of 278 miles by 40-similar tough events including the GNR challenge.
She proudly admitted that she was very pleased with her overall mileage.
Kelly Alford also completed her virtual GNR race on Sunday, and took her young son Noah with her on her run, with the youngster enjoying a trip in the sunshine along the cycle track from Llandudno Junction to Penmaenmawr and back, whilst seated in his pram-buggy.
Kelly said she had to bribe her son with an ice cream to keep him happy, and admitted: “It was so hot, and I’m never running with a buggy again. My shoulders and arms are absolutely killing me now. I didn’t realise how hard it would be running and walking with Noah, and at the end I must have looked like death pushing the pram.”
Rachel Morris was another popular runner who completed the GNR challenge on the same day, and said she too suffered from the hot weather.
She ran the distance along some country lanes around Conwy with her young son Jack, who accompanied her on his bike.
She confirmed: “I had my own mobile drinks station with Jack by my side, and well done to him as he completed his first half marathon, but it was too hot and there was no shade.
“I jogged and walked the distance but my energy went at mile 7, and I had to dig deep, but it wasn’t too bad considering all the injuries I’ve had this year.”