You know you’re struggling when the gorilla goes past

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That's the way to do it

RICK JACKSON: Girl power rules – at the age of two

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Spiderman, a sumo wrestler, three nuns and a banana all overtook me on the Great South Run last Sunday.

Yes it’s the taking part and raising money for charity that counts.

But there is also that personal pride and competitiveness that drives you on – only to be dented by a man dressed as a gorilla.

My first Great South Run was my best.

I remember going out on the Friday before with friends, drinking Guinness, giving myself a day to recover then setting a benchmark time of one hour 31 minutes.

The weather had been perfect. Over cast, a little cooling drizzle in the air and no south westerly gale.

It was the wind that slowed me to one hour 34 minutes in 2008.

Then man flu in 2010 took my time back to one hour 36 minutes, so I was determined to make 2011 count.

I love the atmosphere at the start of the race.

There’s 24,000 nervously excited runners, not sure of what will happen over the next hour or so.

The tannoy blasts out the warm up, supporters cheer us on and a burger van wafts delightful smells across the start time.

I was enjoying the experience so much this year that I just carried my iPod, I didn’t want to blank out the noise.

I felt great at the start but noticed I was sweating long before I normally would.

Was the combination of a running shirt and our cotton XXL charity shirt weighing me down and overheating me?

After the first few kilometres, I normally get a second wind.

This year there was nothing. By eight miles I was in a whole lot of trouble.

It was great to see Linvoy Primus and Pompey’s Touchline Tony at nine miles but by now I was hardly running, just waddling like a duck!

There was no sprint finish. My last ounce of energy took me over the line.

At least I didn’t stop. But one hour 39 minutes was a disaster.

I was also slowest out of the Wave 105 team. Oh the humiliation.

I will have to wait a year to redeem myself and training will commence as soon as I stop walking like a robot.