In short: Anyone who owns a pair of runing shoes should do it at least once In full: Thank goodness for my Sat Nav - parked off the beaten track near South Sheilds Metro and it really paid off at the end - got straight out (the queue for trains looked like the last thing you would want to do after running 13 miles).
Anyway, the race itself - my first time and although i set off with plenty of time, i found getting to the start rushed and a bit stressed especially at the late baggage buses (however next year I will b more relaxed about this as i will know what to expect). Could not get into my pen, had to wait at the start of the road with other runners and spectators (why were they there, some had pushchairs and were just stood talking blocking up the place?). Had 3 outdoor wees - toilet queues a nightmare!
Race itself was spot on (apart from when passing housing estates where the kids decided to weave in and out of runners on their bikes!). The motivational charity team supposed to be cheering me on consisted of 2 women eating sandwiches with their backs to the race (well it did make me laugh). Organisation at the end was good.
Is it just me, or are there more uphill bits than stated in the official blurb? Achieved my target time anyway so am pleased. It is a long day though and went to bed knackered. Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: long way for a short cut! In full: I did the GNR for the first time this year and should have done it sooner. Great fun, loved the bands but missed the jaffa cakes! Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: No quite what I expected In full: The atmosphere was fantastic and a great day for charities and elite athletes. However I fall in between the two and was looking to get a good time. Having received a charity place I was fortunate to sneak my way past security into the stalls towards the front but after a really good warm up waited around for half and hour getting cold, at least it was not raining. After the first 5 miles there was finally some space to run in and the supporters were great. I feel that the event has almost got too big for itself and from experience running in the Windsor half marathon the week really was a far better experience. It might have also had something to do with the 6 hour drive up from London and a 9 hour drive back. Was it worth it? Probably not, but I will be back next year for more punishment.
Follow my progress at www.theroadtobeijing.co.uk Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: Worst organised start ever, everything else great. In full: Absolute shambles at the start -- took an hour to get from the first entry point recommended in the event magazine to the baggage buses. Why not take all runners up Claremont Road to the baggage buses and then once past these back down the main road to your relevant start area?. Each could effectively become a one-way street.
When we got the baggae buses at about 10.00 they were already telling everyone they were full up and refusing to take more bags. There were no designated buses for specific numbers, just a free-for-all, get your bag on any bus that would take it.
Then the jobsworth drivers of the late baggage buses wouldn't take any bags "until I've been told by my supervisor". Even after the main buses had left they still refused even though it was clear they would have to take them eventually. Whne a Supervisor arrived, he started arguing with the drivers about why they weren't taking the bags on board, still leaving hundreds of runners trying desperately to leave their bags and get to their start point.
I then had to climb over a fence and run back down Claremont Road to get to the Green start, only to find marshalls refusing to let anyone into the Green pens. We had the farcical situation of runners climbing over the fence to get in to their designated start pen.
Absolute farce -- worst start at ANY race I have ever done from London and New York marathons, down to my local village 10k.
However, nothing will ever take away the memory of the Red Arrows flying low over the Tyne Bridge at the excat moment that I was running over it, or the relief of seeing the sea at South Shields.
A totally memorable day, unfortuantely not all for the right reasons. Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: Such long waiting times at the start. To avoid traffic, we had to get there about 2 hours before and stand around instead of resting and preparing. In full: It's such a huge event that you have to get there so early to avoid traffic, then stand around getting cold once you've handed in your kit bag. The warm-up - what was that??? Everyone around me flailing arms and legs and bending over randomly! Then stand around again for another 15 mins - what was the point of warming up? Just one more gripe... once penned into your alloted space, you couldn't get out. Had to squeeze out between the rails to have a pee in the bushes (after the start), surrounded by others with the same need. Some men didn't even bother and just pee'd through the rails. YUK! Really not great for mental or physical preparation. However, once again, the rest of the day was really good. Thanks for the showers, and the lucozade. I had forgotten how horrible the last mile is, but brilliant to finish. Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: Forget your watch -A must do for the experience and atmosphere - enjoy the people, race and event a classic In full: So what if a Rhino or Scooby doo pass you, leave the watch at home and take you eyes, ears and smile to enjoy the event and experience. This is a must do experience / adventure and the whole weekend should be enjoyed. Organisation good for the size of event, the crowds and supporters were the BEST. I ran and smiled and ate my way round the course - thank you North East for the experience. Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: Good but not quite good enough... In full: Enjoyable race in itself, with all the positives people have mentioned before, namely Tyne Bridge moment, Red Arrows, excellent water/Lucozade provision and just the taking part in such a huge event. Major negative was the start: i arrived 1 hour before the start, took 40 mins to struggle to baggage buses before failing to get back anywhere close to my Green Zone start. From reading reviews here, sounds like i wouldn't have got in to the Green area anyway. TOP TIP TO ORGANISERS: Speak to London Marathon people on how to run the start of a race! Date of review: October 3, 2006
In short: FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! In full: I am a GNR Novice and also a novice to the half, I must say I absolutely loved it, I started right at the back and bounded pass as many runners/walkers as I could. I thought it was great but was surprised at how many people went past the water/lucozade stations without stopping, I took full advantage of it all and the kids were great. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy for the family of the poor chap that didn't make it to the finish. Date of review: October 3, 2006