In short: Not the most scenic but great atmosphere In full: The route is not the most scenic mostly run along dual carriage ways. It does have a fantastic atmosphere with thousands lining the route to support you on your way. Probably not the best run to get a PB as there are quite a few hills and due to large number of people taking place there will be plenty of people blocking your route. Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: More an event than a race In full: Got to do this once in your running life. We were lucky with the glorious weather. Not sure if I'll do it again though - Newcastle is a five hour train journey away so it would need to be truly 'Great'....and it's not.
If it's a first big race, or your local one, I can see that the GNR would be amazing. Maybe it's an unfair comparison, although the extent to which the GNR is hyped suggests not, but the atmosphere is much better at the London Marathon. I've ran the Bath Half twice and the support (crowd and organisational) there compared favourably with the GNR. The Red Arrows and the finish make it special but that doesn't fully compensate for miles of dreary dual carriageway.
I would echo the comments about the lack of food in the goody bags and the poor separation of runners and walkers (it is a 'Run' and there are plenty of walking challenges out there). Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: Great In full: My first 1/2 marathon and I enjoyed every minute. Sorry for all those I slowed up but then what were you doing at the back (where I was). Actually I was slowed by the traffic jams on the last mile or so on South Shield sea front. Many people had given up and were walking at this point so I was having to do a lot of weaving through the crowds. My only disappointment was not being able to get an XL t-shirt. Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: My 18th GNR & probably the best organised yet apart from number allocation. In full: Many people have already commented about the problems of getting round walkers/slow runners on the assumption they put in unrealistic predicted times and ended up being allocated a start place too near to the front. I put in a predicted time of 1.45 yet was given a green number in bay i - about 3 bays from the back. From other comments made I'm beginning to suspect the numbers are not allocated on predicted times but by lottery, thus explaining why so many slow runners end up in front of faster runners. I can only hope it wil be better next year. Whatever happened to the days when people doing more than ten GNRs got a special number near the front?!! Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: Great Day, few gripes though... In full: Loved it and the NE people are sooo friendly!! :-) I couldn't find the start at first, the toilet cues are ridiculous at beginning (so i took a slash on the verge) BUT my biggest gripe is the slow runners in front!! I am no Paul Tergat and was in PEN C but there were clearly 2hr max in front of me, which made me zig zag past them all in the first mile in 6:15, which screwed me up!! LOL Big lesson there...Why can't people just be honest about thier predicted time!?
Food in goody bag should have been more grub!!! Long cues in car - but what ya expect. I'd do it again if i had the cash - if ya from london - ity's a long way BUT a fab memory...maybe when i am 40!!! Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: Is an amazing race for all running abilities! In full: This year definitely saw a few organisational problems, but every effort is obviously made to make the day as smooth as possible. There are 50,000 runners so you can expect a few problems, but overall everything is organized amazingly well. I think we all must remember that we are there to raise as much money for charity as possible and enjoy the atmosphere of the day which is an amazing feeling that will keep you going all year! Date of review: October 2, 2007
In short: Awful organisation ruined what could have been a great day! In full: As getting affordable accommodation in Newcastle was (unsurprisingly!) not possible, we decided to stay in nearby Ripon and drive in on the day. We planned to get to the finish line and park up there and catch a shuttle bus to the start. Arrived in South Shields around 9am yet took over an hour to find the car park due to poor signage (the line of lost cars following us suggested we weren't the only ones!) When we eventually found a car park (after being directed by several passers by) and paying the £3 parking fee, we asked a marshall where we should get the buses from and did we need to pay. We were told the way and that they were free, so ran the 6-7 mins to the buses as we were now late. We were then told when we reached the bus that it would cost £2.50 each and there was no way they were letting us on without payment! As we were pleading with the marshall that it was a long run back given we were planning on running a half marathon in a bit (and we were running late now!) some very kind people offered to pay our fare (once again, thank you so much, we gave an equivalent amount to CRUK plus a little more as a thank you). So we were on the bus finally although completely stressed and slightly panicky....
Arrived as the gun went off which wasn't a problem as it took so long for the runners to pass the start, but would have been nice to have a few minutes to prepare ourselves. Run itself was great, support was tremendous and the Red Arrows fly by over the bridge was fantastic! Have to say, the middle sections of the course were very uninspiring in terms of scenary, pretty much running along the dual carriageway most of the way, although run along the seafront at the end was nice. Shame there was not any substainial food in the goodie bags (just a packet of dried fruit), disappointing after such a long run and for the money you expect more.
Last grumble was the time it took to get out of South Shields. We left the car park at 1.45pm and had moved about 100m by 2.30pm. It took us 4 hours 15 mins to get back to Ripon, what would be a journey of approx 1 hr 10 mins at any other time. I understand there will be traffic following such a huge race, but it could have been managed better. In fact, why not direct people to an out of city car park/ grassland near a major route out and bus them in from there? Works a treat on other races i've done, stops the city centre being snarled up with traffic.
In short, great atmosphere and such friendly people but Great South Run is 10 times better in terms of organisation and cost (free parking, circular course, less traffic) and I think I will be back to Portsmouth rather than Newcastle next year. Date of review: October 2, 2007