Hi, I've just entered this race for my first time marathon (having been knocked back for London). Friends of mine who ran it last year gave it a thumbs up. Well organised, 'big race' feel without being a crowded course, good transport links and fairly flat. Also for the NE of England there aren't many other options for the distance.
Ran the Steve Cram organised Kielder 10k at the weekend and was really impressed. The entry fee was at the higher end of the spectrum, but excellent event, well organised with good support. Hopefully the Marathon of the North will be similar. However as another poster mentioned could get windy where the course heads along the seafront.
I used a code for £2 off the online fee (until the end of October '12), enter SHHH2012 at registration.
Agree about the shorts - grabbed a pair this weekend, but when I got them home and tried on they weren't up to much.
But the socks are still a winner. Got some race socks last season and they're great - easily as good as brands 2 or 3 times the price. Picked up some compression socks this time as I've never tried them before and they're great - good quality and much cheaper than branded options. If you want to try out compression socks without spending too much its a good option.
Only problem is that Aldi tend to sell out pretty quick as stocks are limited.