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Great North Run 2008

You are in: Tyne > Great North Run > Great North Run 2008 > Making Great North Run debut

Trainers graphic

Matt is a keen runner

Making Great North Run debut

Every year thousands of people make their first attempt at the Great North Run, and in 2008, BBC Sport's Matt Newsum is one of those making their debut.

The reason I have the immense pleasure of writing for you all is that I, like many thousands of people across the region, the UK and beyond, am taking part in the Great North Run on Sunday 5 October 2008.

I have been a keen runner for a fair few years now, dabbled with a running club once but since have just pounded the pavement in order to keep fit and justify my love of food.

Having begun my 'proper' training about two months ago, I am still wondering quite what is so great about running 13 and a bit miles on a Sunday morning... but in all seriousness I do realise I am taking part in a quite special event.

My day job is as a journalist for BBC Sport's online coverage, writing regional sports stories for the North East and Cumbria; and like many sports journalists, I am a frustrated sportsman who lives out my dreams through the exploits of others.

"The daft thought of overtaking an elite runner to the cheers of the crowd whizzes through my mind during gruelling runs"

Matt Newsum

I play five-a-side wishing I was Stuart Pearce, I swim as if I were Michael Phelps and on the one occasion I had a crack at rugby league, I got pummelled as if I were... well I don't think any rugby league player deserves the indignity of a comparison.

However when I take my place on the start line in Newcastle on the 5 October, I will be an athlete... it is true.

Regardless of the fact they will be in a completely different starting zone to me, the truth is a selection of the world's best long-distance runners will be competing in the same race.

I guess it is the equivalent of me being allowed to put a kit on, run up and down the touchline at the FA Cup final, and get a medal at the end of it.

Ok, so I would never touch the ball, score a goal or even mis-time a tackle, but I would be thereabouts!

And it is that thought that whizzes through my mind during those gruelling practice runs - the daft thought of overtaking an elite runner to the cheers of the crowd - a running Roy of the Rovers as it were.

The closest I have come to competing against professional athletes was when I stupidly agreed to race a future Olympic swimming hopeful in a 50m pool.

Unfortunately I was destroyed by a 13-year-old British champion called Kathryn and it was the mismatch of all mismatches.

She even had to give me a crash course in diving before we started.

However Kathryn has a great chance of competing at 2012 if she continues to develop, and then the humiliation might not be so great.

Training has been going well so far, give or take a few blips involving live football and beer, and since I have had a few sponsorship pledges already, there is no backing out now!

Until next time,


last updated: 23/09/2008 at 12:34
created: 11/09/2008

You are in: Tyne > Great North Run > Great North Run 2008 > Making Great North Run debut

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