In short: Needs water earlier than 4.5 miles In full: Most of my views have already been said but in summary:
1) A fantastic atmosphere. The crowds line the entire course and apart from a few annoying kids they really pull you along. 2) Water WAS available at the start, some way back near the baggage buses. However, I really think that water should have been available again before 4.5 miles, especially on such a hot day. If you could drink vaseline there'd be no problem as it was everywhere! Despite the organisers assertions that water didn't run out, I witnessed one station where discarded bottles were being manually refilled by marshals. 3) Something needs to be done about the walkers starting too near to the front. As a rather slow runner myself, I started at the back of the field but even I soon came upon people strolling along very near to the start line. It wouldn't be so bad if they showed some awareness/consideration but many of them walked side-by-side several abreast. The suggestion of a walker's lane at the side of the road is an excellent suggestion but things would work much better if slower competitors just used a bit of consideration and started from the back of the field. Date of review: September 21, 2005
In short: A challenging run in hilly countryside In full: The added interest of the Tour with 5 races in 6 Days made this a daunting challenge, however by starting slowly and enjoying each race the whole experience was fantastic. Excellent goody bag, T shirt, Sweat Shirt, gloves, glass trophy and a spot prize Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Pleased to have finshed both 25th GNR & 25th London Marathon In full: I thought the GNR was a very well organised event and felt everything ran really smoothly. Only suggestion would be to provide salt tablets or Sports Drink on the way round as water not the best thing for hydration, especially on such a hot day. Crowd support was great towards the end when you really needed it. Support from other runners was also motivating. Agree with others about slow runners making their way to the front, which is not helpful for those who want to run and surely can't be motivating if you have to walk after a mile and have thousands of people running past you.
All in all, a good day out and worthwhile taking part to say you have done it. May do it again next year!
Like others, my thoughts go to the families of those who lost a loved one. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Tough day In full: This was my 2nd run. the first was in 1999. I've had a back problem that has pprevented me from competing since then. I learnt my lessons from 1999 and got myself as close to the front as possible to avoid the wall of grannies.
I had hoped to run close to 1 hour 30, but I found it just too warm and ended up coming home in 1 hour 39, which I was happy with given the conditions and how bad I felt.
Despite drinking water at every opportunity I was still suffering major fluid loss, I lost 5 pounds in weight during the race. Not sure what happened because I did a 12 mile run 2 weeks ago on a warmer day and felt nowhere near as bad, just one of those days I guess.
The start should be better organised and they should have water at 2.5 miles, but apart from that the run was well organised. They need to take account of climate change when scheduling the event - hot September days like that will be much more frequent than they used to.
Very sorry to hear about the fatalities - they must be related to the heat. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Hill training required In full: Great race, have now completed this 7 times. No matter how much hill training and giving up smoking I still can't seem to get up all 3 hills! Often a very hot day so could do with one more water stop along route. All runners really supportive, great organisation, great race to enter. A pretty tough race though hilly in parts especially the last streach along the black path very tiring about the 8k mark. Would be nice to have more local support along route to cheer you on. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: A must do for any runner, but once is enough for me In full: I did enjoy the run as a whole, but as with what has already been said, THERE WERE FAR TOO MANY RUNNERS. I, as many other runners do, make sure that I stand next to the marker which best represents my finnish time. Many people just pushed their way as far forward as they could which made it very difficult for everyone else, I saw people walking before they reached the 1st mile marker. It took me 30 minutes to get over the start line, all I seemed to be doing was zig zaging past the thousands of walkers, many of whome were linked arm in arm 6 or more abreast. My advice to anyone thinking about doing this run is to make your way as far forward as you can, having said that you will probably still be behind someone in fancy dress! Likewise my heart goes out to the families of those who lost their lives, RIP Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Beginners welcome In full: This year will be my 4th attempt, having missed last year I'm looking forward to this year. I'm a 39 year old fun runner and found the first year rather daunting standing with all the club runners. If there are any fun runners out there don't be put off. EVERYONE is so supportive, both runners and marshalls. I've always found the other runners will always try and help you round during the times your legs just don't want to carry on. Thoroughly recommend this one, great friendly people entering, great route and great organisation. PB are also achievable - gone from 2hrs 20 to 1hr 59 over the years. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Weather made it tough this year In full: Having now completed my third GNR I realise that fast times are difficult due to numbers. My greatest bug-bear is the walkers who choose to start at the front of the race. This year I came across walkers just the other side of the over-bridge at the start. A greater effort must be made to get people starting from the right position. I am never going to set any records but would like to run! amongst equally paced athletes. All said and done I have arranged accommodation for 2006 and look forward to another good day, hopefully a bit cooler though. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: be prepared! In full: Have done the GNR for last 8 eight years - and yes it was the hottest. BUT - people need to take it seriously and "be prepared" -cannot be treated as a "fun run". Also if people had read their pre-race instructions they would have realised that there WAS water at the start - as shown clearly on the start map in their race pack. The organisers did a great job and should not be criticised for people not preparing and for unseasonal weather. My heartfelt sympathy to people who lost their loved ones. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Good race but to many runners In full: This was my first big race although not my first half marathon. Atmosphere was brilliant but the volume of runners/walkers I feel was too much. Was forced onto a roundabout causing me to fall and smash my head on the ground - caused purely by the volume of people trying to manouvre. I think the race organisers needs to reduce the numbers in future. Plenty of water available and what a great support those people with hoses were! Was pleased with time 2hr 20mins - not my best but happy as you have to take into consideration the number of people entering. Not sure if I would enter such a big race again, seeing people collapsing between miles 11-13 was terrible, my heart goes out to the families of the four men who died. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Expectations are everything In full: If you are prepared to accept that you're unlikely to clock a PB and that you'll just have to go with the flow virtually all the way round you'll have a great day here.
Best points: great medal and t-shirt, great atmosphere (especially in the tunnels and the final couple of miles), pretty good organisation for such a large scale event.
Suggestions for improvement: 1st water station needs to be earlier than 4.25 miles, perhaps experiment with a wave start (I did the Great Manchester Run and this approach seemed to be very effective there) as hanging around for 2 hours pre-start is tough.
Probably a one off for me simply because it's a lot of hassle for a non-competitive run, but back to my original point - it depends on your expectations.
As others have already written, deepest sympathy to the families and friends of those who sadly died. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Could do away with the fencing near the central reservation. didn't know the main race had started. Pity all the water was near the baggage buses, should have been on both sides and nearer the front as should have more toilets. In full: Atmosphere was good , especially on the long climb upto the first water station. should also have been more toilets in the Gateshead stadium area. I was disappointed the chip strap was not long enough but had I tried it earlier I could have rectified that problem. i wasn't happy at the end that I had to try and bend to undo the strapping, I was sore enough! Why are there no T shirts over size L? Many runners like myself are on the large size so I was not able to wear my size L with pride. I was lucky in getting a bus out of South Shields quite quickly and avoided the walk to the station or ferry. All this apart I really enjoyed the whole week-end from Quayside to the race and will be entering next year. I have already booked my accomodation. Thoughts and prayers with those who lost near and dear ones. Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Very enjoyable but don't moan if you get stuck behind slower runners In full: Not really sure how the organisation was at the start as I was just coming out of the loo when the gun went off! By a major bit of luck however, I managed to find a bit of fence to hop over and crossed the line after only 2 minutes!
The best plan is definitely not to take this too seriously or you'll probably get really annoyed at trying to get past slower runners. That was my plan anyway, but it all went a bit wrong as I threaded my way through the throng and, as I passed the Rear of the Year (Nell McAndrew) at about 9 miles I suddenly realised I was on a bit of a blinder.
6.5 minutes off my previous best and a frankly astounding 890th overall so there's definitely potential for a PB if you're lucky, just don't turn up EXPECTING to do one or you could be disappointed and not enjoy what is a very well supported race.
Enjoyed all the bands on the way round too. The only complaint being that there were a few too many Mackems over the last few miles. Perhaps it should FINISH in Newcastle instead! Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: Great experience - but probably only once in a lifetime! In full: I had a great day - tinged with sadness at the news of the fatalities. I have only been running for 9 months, but did get a bit frustrated with people slowing to walk without consideration for runners around them. It was hot though! Date of review: September 20, 2005
In short: A great weekend away In full: OK, its crowded and theres lots of beginers and the PB potential is very poor, but GIVE YOURSELF A WEEK OFF!! Just enjoy it. The crowds are fantastic, top class organisation for such a massive event. You can't help but smile as you run round, and how many other races have you run in that the world record was broken. I rest my case your honour. Date of review: September 20, 2005