In short: World's biggest half marathon In full: Wow, so many people! I've done a few large races but this was definitely he most congested. Took ages to get into the pens (leave plenty of time!) and then forever to get over the start line! Throughout the whole race you had to be pretty careful not to get tripped up (or accidentally trip someone else up) as it never really thinned out. The course was ok but missed the Red Arrows (started too far back) and it started raining heavily as we crossed the Tyne Bridge which meant visibility was poor. The rest of the course wasn't that special, John Reid road went on forever although it was nice to finish near the coast (downhill then flat!) Goody bag was pretty good (lovely medal, t shirt nice but shame it wasn't a tech one for the entry fee), long queue to collect bag and then the biggest queue ever to get the Metro back to town. Maybe the atmosphere would have been a bit better if it wasn't so cold and wet! I'm glad I've done this race and I did enjoy it overall but don't feel a desperate need to do it again. Date of review: March 9, 2014
In short: Nice race, but who slows down at the 500m to go mark? In full: Being from the North East, i've wanted to do the GNR for a while. I'm not a fan of huge crowds so i was a little concerned about how i was going to feel running with 56,000 other runners. I accurately stated my expected finish time and found that i was high enough up the field that i wasn't impeded by slower runners...until the end of the race. I speed up as i go on and i found the last mile or so i was continually dodging around people who were slowing down. The last 500 metres in particular were ridiculous. Who doesn't want to go for a sprint finish?
The race was hillier than i'd thought, but manageable. My only issue was the steep downhill to the seafront. I knew this was coming and took it easy - only for another runner to slam into the back of me because he took it too fast. Not impressed.
The main issue i had with the race was the event management in the car park area at the end. It took over 2 hours before our car even moved an inch, never mind getting away from the area. There was no effective marshalling or event management post-race. Get it sorted GNR - it's not like its the first time you've done this!! Date of review: September 25, 2013
In short: Special half marathon - atmosphere amazing In full: I'm a runner and have done this race several times, but this year I finally realised what this race is all about - soaking up the amazing atmosphere & really enjoying the experience! Yes it's mega busy and you probably won't get a PB - but this is the world's most famous half marathon and to be a part of it is a fantastic buzz. Watching the elites line up on the start line on the big screen, joining in the warm up with tens of thousands of people, running en masse with all those people, getting huge support from the public all the way round the course, taking in the on course entertainment, camaraderie with fellow runners, a fantastic finishing straight and a well organised finish - can't beat it! Yes, you might have to wait a while for a bus back to the start - but so what?! Having taken part in something amazing, relax and soak up the post- race atmosphere, watch the Red Arrows display, pick up a cuppa & a sandwich from the charity village & get a massage whilst you wait. This experience doesn't come round very often so lap up every last bit. I, along with tens of thousands of other runners, can't wait for next year! Date of review: September 23, 2013
In short: Too big, too busy In full: The anticipation was tremendous so I maybe expected too much. Portaloos were foul, as usual,start was chaotic...23 mins to cross the start line and the crowds remained until the finish line. I lost count of how many times my heels were clipped,or I was tripped or pushed.The supporters were amazing however, the banter was superb, isotonic beer was offered by some ! A huge thank you to the lady who gave me an ice pop , it was wonderful halfway up the long hill.The worst bit of the day was post race when we had to wait hours to leave the car park . Date of review: September 19, 2013
In short: Brilliant event with a brilliant crowd In full: This was my 9th GNR and as ever I loved every minute of it. At the start it is always very busy but well organised. There are lots of toilets but the queues can be quite long. For men there are plenty of urinals on the claremont road which runs parallel to the start on the right hand side. Although the pens official close at 10.30 I would recommend getting in there about 10.15 otherwise you may not get into your allotted pen. Once the race starts it does take some time to get going. I was in pen C this year and crossed the start line 6 minutes after the gun. Once you are going there are crowds the whole way around, there is not a single section of the race that does not have spectators and they are all very supportive. Watch out for the young kids who pick up the discarded water bottles and try to squirt you with water which is OK on a hot day but not so nice when it is colder like this year. The run itself is downhill for the first 3 miles and then there is a steady climb up to 5 miles. Then it is downhill again until 8miles. Then you get into the most challenging part, the John Reid road. This is a series of uphills followed by flat bits all the way to just before 12 miles, where you get your first view of the sea and also a very steep downhill, which is quite hard on your knees. The final mile is great as the crowd cheer you along all the way to the finish, using your name off your number which really spurs you on. At the end you are given water bottles and there is usually a sports drink in your goodie bag. If you are not from the local area I imagine getting away at the end may prove challenging but there appear to be plenty of buses and you can also get the metro back into Newcastle. It is only a week since the race and I am already looking forward to next year. Date of review: September 19, 2013
In short: Great atmosphere but too congested In full: There's no failing the geordies for their friendly welcome! One of the highlights of the race was the atmosphere and the cheering crowd although we were clipping each others heels... even at the 12mile mark we were still bunched together!
I'd definitely do again - maybe in a year or two's time. Date of review: September 18, 2013
In short: have to do it for the atmosphere / puts the fun into running In full: Fantastic atmosphere crowd and other runners were brilliant. Great to see a mix of people.
The finish into south shields really enjoyable and topped off with a display by the red arrows which was superb.
The one gripe ive got was that i had no chance of a pb as in the green sector right near the back. I never had free space to run and there were a few others in the same position. We had to battle through people to get anywhere which wasnt fair. Alot of the slower runners did try to get out of the way but unfortunetly quite often ran in front of someone else so it would be good if the faster runners could be nearer the front especially as you have to say what your estimated time will be. I thought it would be more like the start at birmingham.
Bar that i have to say i did really enjoy the event and would love to return next year. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: First GNR, won't be the last. In full: Really enjoyed the whole experience. My first HM was a little tough especially the hill before you reach the coast! But very satisfying to reach the end. Spoke with a number of runners from across the country afterwards and they all speak very highly of the warm north east welcome. Date of review: September 17, 2013
In short: Another Great weekend! In full: My 24th GNR and the best yet (though I think I say that line every year!). Excellent organisation (can't believe people are whinging about having to go upstairs!Just think if they used single deckers,the queue would be longer!). Superb entertainment all the way,even more so was the support from the start to the finish.Every step of the way was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who played their part! Looking forward to my "Silver Anniversary" next year!! Date of review: September 17, 2013