In short: The atnosphere is amazing. No other un like it! In full: It's essential to get to the start early to allow enough time to get to the loos and to your alloted pen. The atmosphere is amazing, made all the more special by the Red Arrows. I particularly appreciated their fly over at the start this year as I'm always over the Tyne Bridge by the time they fly over.
Yes, the queues are long at the finish for the metro and ferry but I don't let it dampen the day. I got a PB of 1.41.12 this year and thought the atmosphere, friendliness and crowds were better than ever.
I went to the pasta party on the Saturday for the first time this year. Whilst I loved the athletics, I wasn't overly fussed by the pasta party/runners tent. Date of review: September 23, 2011
In short: Expected more In full: After a huge number of halfs this one was a shambles at the start, a nightmare for specatators but couldn't fault the red arrows and cheering crowds.
I was an orange number. I arrived at my pen 10mins before close and was physically pushed back by a man in high-vis and told to go to the crossing. Got to the crossing and another man in high-vis was closing it early. Went back to the orange pen high-vis man who had then sealed the entry and started physcially pushing away runners - hard enough to knock a young girl down and make her cry.
As an organge runner planning on a decent time race I then had to walk passed the whites who were also now sealed and ended up waiting outside the end barriers to filter in to the start. A hugely stressful start. And to the reviewer who said he was upset that oranges had given incorrect times and he had to overtake them all - that is why. I was not the only person starting in a random colour pen.
Course was nice, crowds were good, bands were good, fun water fights with kids squirting bottles. A crowded course so no huge PB potential (unless you are lucky enough to get in your pen up front maybe).
Got to the end and was disappointed to see the crowds at the finish line were held way back by fences. No grandstand, no big finish, no-one volunteer saying well done, just sort of done. Got my bag, medal etc then went to try and exit - I couldn't. The exit was so narrow I got kicked and pushed. The reunion area was chaos, couldn't see my boyf anywhere for the crowds around my letter and almost started crying. Luckily he found me. He had only just got there. It took two hours to get from the start to finish for him. There were no signs for him to get to reunion area from the station, nor any signs to the big beer tent he could have waited in while it rained.
The instructions that arrived said the pasta party the day before was at gateshead quay. That's it. The place is huge and took ages to find where it was amongst the chaos of crowds, and then it wasn't really worth the effort.
The ferry took 90mins to queue. The metro took 2 hours. The queue was still there at 6pm as we watched from the pub.
I get it is a big event and difficult to organise and I get the busy course makes it a big slower, but I really did expect more from a 30+year iconic race that charges so much.
Want a good quality organised half, try Reading or Coventry or Nottingham instead. Has all the pros and is far more slick. Date of review: September 23, 2011
In short: Great Race .... Organisation gets worse every year In full: I love the GNR, the city, the route, the people. You'll never get a PB ...too much traffic but a great atmosphere. What bothers me is that for such a large race the organisation at the start is terrible (finish is much better) Not enough toilets, baggage bus leaves too early, pens too small, shuttle buses to the start are expensive and take forever, Security guards are the worst I've seen (How can you try to close a pen at 10.30 and not expect a riot which results in the pen wall collapsing on the spectators ???) Come on GNR you make a fortune, spend some of it on the start please. Date of review: September 23, 2011
In short: I've said it before.... In full: This race just gets better and better.From the first time I ran it in 1990 to my 21st this year.It has grown and developed into the model for others to follow. Long may it continue.Thank you to everyone involved! Date of review: September 22, 2011
In short: Amazing atmousphere another great day,Look forward to next year, In full: I am 59 and been running for ever,this was only my third G N R.A great run except for someone droping a plastic bottle in the middle of the road and not throwing it clear of runners which i stood on and pulled my calf muscle this was at three miles.I did finish in a time of 1.55.10.Beat last years time by three minuets,felt good at the finish apart from a sore calf.Look out next year. Date of review: September 22, 2011
In short: an amazing run for all abilities. In full: was my first mass participation event so didnt really grasp the need to be in zone early was busy queuing for the toilet,more toilets needed and nearer the start. great weekend though ran a pb, met mo farah, received fantastic support the whole way round so the race flew by. will be back for more regardless and my daughter wants to do the mini great north next time.a must do race! Date of review: September 22, 2011
In short: Truly the best half marathon in the UK In full: Done this three times now and the feeling as you hit the roundabout before dropping down onto the sea front at South Shields is truly amazing - would recommend anyone to do this race. Date of review: September 22, 2011