Nene Walks the Walk at the Great North Run for breast cancer

Thank you Walk the Walk for organising this event, looking after us and always making us feel so special.

And the journey begins…

My little toe hurts, my heart is racing, my bladder is full again, haven’t I just been? I convince myself it’s my imagination playing tricks on me. Oh! my God, Oh! My God, we have started, why can’t I see the start line. These are all the thoughts going on in my head while I was standing amongst thousands of runners, walkers and joggers who had given up so much of their time and spent days, weeks, months training to be part of this great and wonderful event raising money for good causes.

It took me approximately an hour to get to the start line. I could feel the excitement, see the worry, fear and concerns on so many faces and I was no different. The closer I got to the start line the more emotional and subdued I became, thinking of every single person I was here for and promising them I was going to finish no matter how long it took me because they were all worth it.

I had travelled from London a day before with my daughter for support. My excitement did not set in until I got to South Shields and saw the Simply Health banners displayed for GNR on the road all the way to Newcastle. All over town you could feel the excitement of the community.

It all started in January 2017 when a close friend passed away to breast cancer and at the same time a colleague was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wanted to do more than just donate to breast cancer charities so went online and found the MoonWalk marathon. I became interested in this did some more research and registered to take part in the Full Moonwalk 2017. I have since taken part in 2 full Moonwalks in 2017 and 2018.

My Training Partner

I started training every day but needed that extra motivation so went on the Moonwalk website and found a training partner, Sonia Genery. We both connected and did lots of training together especially our long walks. We were a great support for each other and in 2018 we luckily were in the same wave so walked together. I couldn’t have done it without her support. She like me had lost someone really close to breast cancer and was walking for them.


I set up my page and send out my page link to friends and family. Personally I raise money quicker by doing sales pitches to friends and family by calling and explaining to them what the charity is all about and what the money would be used for. I give examples like the scalp cooler machines, provided by Walk the Walk, which can prevent or reduce hair loss for people undergoing certain types of chemotherapy treatment. I felt that this was really effective in getting donations when people actually knew what their money was spent on. I also talk about my training and how I am getting on. This generates a lot of interest and I sent a reminder nearer the time and this helps.

Great North Run Training

After taking part in 2 London Full MoonWalks I wanted to challenge myself with something else and so picked Great North Run. Sadly again this year two of my close friends have being diagnosed with breast cancer. They have previously sponsored me in the past for my MoonWalks and I wanted to do this for them.

In the past I have never really followed the Training Plan but decided to follow it strictly for the GNR. I stuck the plan on my fridge and ticked off everyday as I went along. It was a struggle some days to get out of bed in the morning to go for my walk so went in the evening after work instead. I don’t like getting wet so on rainy days I went to the gym and used the treadmill. I must admit that most days that I struggled I did ask myself several times why I was doing this. I had to remind myself that I was doing this for everyone suffering from this dreadful disease and that kept me going. I looked forward to relax days and used those days to do my stretches and ride my bicycle.

Sonia wasn’t taking part in GNR but did my 10-mile walk with me for moral support, I really appreciated this even though it rained throughout our walk and we were soaked it was good to know I had such a strong support network. Unfortunately, three weeks to the event I had a severe pain in my hip and I could no longer train. I got really worried and thought that I would not be able to do the GNR after all my hard work, which was upsetting for me.

Before, During and After the Great North Run

On the day of the event, I finally got to meet all the other lovely ladies taking part. It was nice to get together before the walk, get to know each other and take pictures to commemorate the day. Everyone was so friendly, which made me, relax and I felt I had support during the walk. It was good to know you were not alone.

The support from the crowd along the way was incredible. Strangers were shouting out our names, handing us sweets, water, Vaseline and giving high fives. The entertainment with the music bands and all the chanting of Oggy Oggy Oggy kept me going throughout the walk. At some point, I started having pains in my hip and my toes and got really concerned that it would slow me down. I stopped to stretch for a bit, which helped and continued on my way. Anytime I felt like this was getting too much, I remembered the reason I was doing this and that kept me going.

For some strange reason when I got to Mile 12 I had a sudden spring in my steps because I could see the end. I got to the Finish Line and some of the ladies from Walk the Walk who had finished before me where at the Finish Line to greet me. I thought that was really sweet of them to wait at the Finish Line welcoming those of us behind them. I felt really emotional, excited, overwhelmed and so happy that I had finished. This was my first half marathon so far away from home and with elite runners. It was a very fulfilling experience.

My next mission was to find my way back to Newcastle and catch my train to London. The journey to Newcastle was very stressful. The walk to the station, the crowd and queue to the Metro was something I had never experienced. After being in the crowd and kettled in, I decided to take a not so cost effective taxi back to Newcastle. At this point I was exhausted and did not want to miss my train to London. Regretfully, I did not have a chance after the event to enjoy all the activities in the marathon village. My recovery after the half marathon was better than I expected and I had taken 2 days off work to recover.

Would I do it again? Yes! But I will plan my trip better to be more cost effective and give myself more time to enjoy the activities after the half marathon. All in all it was a really great day and it was special to be taking part in an event with Mo Farah even though he finished in 59:06 and I in 3:29:58 I was proud that I finished and over the moon to have taken part in this great event.

Thank you Walk the Walk for organising this event, looking after us and always making us feel so special.

Feeling Inspired? 

Why not join the Walk the Walk team at the Great North Run in 2020?! 


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