In short: Excellent race, terrible beginning organisation In full: Supposed to be 55000+ runners in 2012 but due to weather only about 44000+ turned up yet there wasn't enough room in the 'zones' for the runners. People had to queue to get into their starting zone and then the gates were closed and they were turned away. This meant from supposed to be starting in the third wave I started back in about wave 8 and count myself lucky for getting in there! However saying that... overall extremely well organised and with amazing amounts of support. The best parts were going through the tunnels 'army style' :-) Date of review: September 18, 2012
In short: Really pleased I did it but accommodation is a problem. In full: Let's start with the biggest negative - decent accommodation is almost impossible to find as the hotels rack their prices up considerably for this weekend. I ended up in a horrid guest house miles out of town and I know many others who fared similarly.
The atmosphere at the start is brilliant and running over the Tyne Bridge while the Red Arrows fly overhead is just fabulous. The problem then is that the next 11 or so miles are as dull as dishwater with little atmosphere and just a dual carriageway for scenery. The last mile running down to the sea is enjoyable though and you just have to do a sprint finish! The Red Arrows are there again at the finish which is great but it does mean that the crowds are watching them instead of cheering you!
Good idea that they print your name on your running number - you get loads of personal shouts of encouragement as a result.
Medal and t-shirt are really good and I am proud to have done this event. I didn't find the hills too bad but then I do live in Wales so maybe I am used to gradients. I would do this one again but getting to Newcastle by train from Wales was just horrendous while the rip off accommodation issue is likewise off putting. If you live within a couple of hours drive of Newcastle though you'd be daft to miss this one. People obviously do though because despite what they say there is no way there we 50,000 on this one, nearer 35,000 I would say based on what the marshals told me.
In short: Not the biggest Half Marathon in the World without a good reason In full: My 4th GNR and still the same fantastic event. (comments copied from last year but still valid) With the City Games & Expo it does make for a whole weekend experience (More still needed in the expo thou). The crowds were, as usual wonderful giving huge amounts of support from the front runners to the runners at the back. Even with the rain coming down it didn`t damper the GNR atmostsphere. Date of review: November 2, 2011
In short: A thing to do before you die. In full: This was my 2nd GNR and I enjoyed it much more second time round as I knew what to expect. The atmosphere is superb. The live music the boost zone and the Red Arrows were particular highlights. Yes its not a scenic race but if you want scenery, best to head for the hills rather than a large town in the North East! As for the journey home, we caught a bus back into town rather than travelling on the Metro like we did last year. We queued less than 5 minutes. Great service. HINT Don't queue for the first bus you come to. Keep on walking and buses further down the road will be empty and waiting for you! Date of review: October 21, 2011