Tracey Cramond was the Bupa Great North Run’s one millionth finisher. She talks to Women’s Running about her surprise and her newfound fame…
What made you sign up for the Great North Run?
I lost my Mum in June 2013 and needed something to challenge me and give me focus. I decided to try something I’d never done before, e.g. running, and what better Northern event than The Great North Run. I wanted to run in memory of my late Mom.
What was the appeal of doing it a second time after you ran it last year?
Last year I missed out on a place for the Butterwick Hospice as I decided to enter so late (July). I had planned from crossing the line last year that I would do it again and this time for Butterwick, and again in memory of my Mom.
What was your race experience like last year?
Last year seemed much smoother, I had a wingman (my son-in-law Dan) and the weather was much cooler and kinder. I enjoyed it.
How did training go for it this year?
My training this year was probably not where it should have been. I’ve had a number of charity fundraising events on this year that have interrupted my training plans. But that may have been a good thing in hindsight, especially in light of what has transpired.
What did you think of the course?
When I did it last year I was informed that it was a flat course, well we all know that the course climbs almost continuously to the coast at South Shields. It’s a great and challenging route.
What was the atmosphere like during the race?
Phenomenal! It literally starts buzzing from the moment you approach the start line. And throughout the run it’s fantastic to see seas of faces, bands striking up along the route, the cheers, fellow runners spurring you on – it’s truly electric! The crowds lining the route did the North East proud, they were hugely supportive and really kept me going, as I am sure is the case for all the runners.
How were your energy levels during the race?
I started out pretty well, but I think by the time I got to mile 8, the heat was really taking its toll. I did struggle in the weather conditions, and was very grateful to the volunteers at the water points, and the spectators for all the refreshments that were available to us.
You knew about the millionth runner beforehand. Did you imagine for a moment it could be you?
To be honest on the morning of the race the millionth finisher never once crossed my mind. Throughout the race I was merely focussing on getting to the finish line in once piece.
How did you feel when you crossed the finish line and were told you were the millionth runner?
When I was told I think I almost fell into the arms of the person who announced my name. Shocked, excited, and elated, disbelief, all of those things really.
How soon after crossing the line were you notified?
A number of us were corralled across to a small holding area until the officials could verify who the actual millionth finisher was. It seemed like a lifetime, but in reality it was probably only a matter of a few minutes.
What was your initial reaction?
Disbelief! I’ve never been a lucky person, these type of things don’t happen to me. I always think it’ll be someone else. It was brilliant!
How did you feel about being thrust into the spotlight and having requests for all these media interviews?
It was amazing! It makes it so much easier when you’re dealing with such lovely people, and I take direction pretty well. It’s been like a whirlwind and my feet have not yet touched the ground, but I’m embracing it!
What does your family think about your newfound fame?
They are over the moon. They are all very proud and also still trying to take it all in. They couldn’t be happier for me.
What are your future running goals?
Well I most certainly will be running the Great North Run 2015, I don’t think I’ll get away with that one. There are plans for New Zealand in March 2015 and who knows, when I finally come back down to reality what the future holds.