* Prices may differ from that shown
The Great North Run (or GNR) is an iconic race and something that everyone should do at least once, whether you're a seasoned runner or a couch potato. It is a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, run point to point from Newcastle to South Shields. Over the years I have had many different experiences of the race - the newbie starting right at the back, the average runner starting mid-pack, the fancy dress runner, the competition winner starting in the celebrity pen, and more recently the 'Fast Paced Club Runner' starting right behind the Elite athletes. No matter which way I've run the race, I have absolutely loved it.
For first time runners of the GNR there are two ways to gain entry to the race. Unlike the London Marathon you cannot gain a place by virtue of having achieved a certain race time previously (unless of course you are an actual elite athlete). You can either apply for the ballot or get a place directly through a charity. The ballot usually opens in February but you can sign up on the Great Run website for a reminder. It is also worth keeping up with online running forums such as those on the Runner's World website, as there is usually an extra ballot operated by a national newspaper and members of those forums have a knack for finding out when that opens. A ballot place currently costs just under £50.
If you are unlucky in the ballot you can apply for a place through a charity. You can find the charities who offer places by doing an internet search. This is how I got my first ever place in the run. You may still have to pay the entry fee and you'll have to commit to raising a certain amount of money, usually at least £250. Many charities have their own tents at the finish line where they will provide their runners with refreshments and sometimes a massage too. Of course, you can also run for a charity if you got a ballot place, but then you don't have to raise any particular amount.
Once you have completed one GNR you will be offered a Golden Bond, which guarantees you entry for the next three years in a row. There is an additional fee for this.
If you are ill or injured and have to miss the race you can defer your place for guaranteed entry the following year. You will have to pay the entry fee a second time though.
You will need to arrive very early. Allow much more time for your journey than you think you will need as the Metro trains will be jam packed like the London Underground in rush hour, but the service is far less frequent! Driving can also be difficult as there is no parking at the start. You can park at the finish and take a bus back to the start line.
As there are so many people it can be quite a walk to your baggage bus and then back to your start pen. The buses are labelled with colours to match your number; this also reflects your pen allocation. When you leave your bag on the bus your number will be stamped with the number of the bus so you don't have to remember it at the other end.
Be warned, there are never enough toilets and the queues are enormous. Accept that you will probably have to pee in a bush. Don't be embarrassed, everyone has to do it!
You have to get into your pen quite early as they close them, so make sure you're done with toileting and in your pen nice and early. The pens are marshalled and you will not be able to access a pen nearer the front than your allocation. The fences are 6 foot tall as well, so there can be no 'hopping over' the barrier.
Other than one or two highlights, the route is actually rather ugly. However the crowd support more than makes up for this. You start off downhill running towards the river Tyne. It is important to hold yourself back a little here as you'll need to save your energy. As you go under the tunnels there'll be shouts of 'Oggie, oggie, oggie' (and loads of men will veer off to the sides to, erm, water the walls).
The Tyne Bridge is the main highlight of the course, and if you're right in the middle of the mass field you may well get to see the Red Arrows fly over your head, with red, white and blue smoke streaming out behind them. Once over the bridge you have to go uphill again and you reach the highest point of the course at 5 miles.
Nobody's favourite part of the race is the John Reid Road, which is a long uphill drag from 11 to 12 miles. However the road is lined with supporters and your reward at the top is the long awaited view of the North Sea. There follows a very steep, short downhill and a sharp left turn, then you're on the last stretch to the finish. This last mile seems to take forever, but the crowds are amazing.
Finally you cross the finish line, and regardless of how long it took you, you have been part of a great day. You receive water and sports drinks, a medal, usually a few samples of toiletries and cereal bar type things, and your T-shirt in your goodie bag. Sadly the T-shirts are cotton and not technical material, but they are good quality.
Beyond the finish line you need to retrieve your bag from the correct bus. This is my main gripe of the race. No-one hands it to you, you have to board the bus and find it for yourself, which isn't easy with so many bags on there.
Then you can explore the charity village, the retail area and the beer tent, meet your relatives at the meet up points, and begin to make your way home. Be prepared for the journey to take quite some time as 50000 runners plus their supporters all try to get out of South Shields at much the same time!
All in all the GNR is an amazing experience, and one I'll keep going back to whenever I am lucky enough to get a place in it. Contrary to popular belief you absolutely can get a fast time on this course, which is actually net downhill, and pretty much anyone get around a 13.1 miles if they put their minds to it.
* Review also appears on Ciao *
This is the pinnacle of the Half marathon running events in Europe if not the World as its the most second popular half marathon on the Planet. The run is 13.1 miles and takes in the breathtaking views of Newcastle and the South Shields. I have completed the run on numerous occasions and it just gets better by the year. If you are a keen runner and looking for a PB this is not the best race to complete for this but the sheer scale of the race is something you have to see. There are water stations and entertainment all the way around the course so this is also a big day out as well as a run. The excitement is such that the time of the run seems to fly by. There is a full spectrum of people that enter from 16- 60+ and lots of people do it for different reasons. You have elte runners and also those running for charity, the full spectrum of life covers the 52,000 entrants.
The cost of entry iwas £45 last year, in terms of half marathons is quite expensive compared to the usual £20 odd, it is however worth the extra costs.
The run starts in Newcastle and takes in many of the cities sites including the St James Park and also the world famous Tyne bridge. The race finishes in South shileds and in all honesty seems the hardest part as you have the northerly winds blowing in your face, you are so close to home that you tend to put it at the back of your mind though.
At the end of the race you get a goody bag with medal and also space blankets are available to keep the cold out.
A fantastic race and one which really does deserve your partication.
Be prepared to see some famous faces on the way around the course.
Good luck and don't forget to get some running fitness before entering as it is a long distance.
This is one of those races that you just HAVE to do!
The Great North Run is the biggest half marathon in the world with 52000 people taking part each year. It takes place in September, starting in Newcastle and finishing in South Shields.
It is expensive to enter (£45 this year), but the organisation is absolutley impeccable. I have done a large number of races and this is without doubt the best organised one I have taken part in. The baggage buses are numbered and it is easy to find them, get your stuff on at the start and off at the end. The end is very well organised and the charity village is a great place to meet the people form your charity, if you choose to run for one, and get a post race massage and food and meet up with friends.
The Great North Run attracts people from all walks of life and all abilities from those who can complete a half marathon in just over an hour to those who walk it. It is an excellent race for beginners because you know you are unlikely to be the last to finish (unlike some other races). I have just talked a couple of my friends into upping their distance to complete this race this year and they have entered and are really looking forward to it now. The time you are running flies by. People line the entire course, playing music, shouting and cheering and handing out everything from jelly babies to oranges and even burgers! Someone described it to me as a 13 mile party and I have to say that I agree! The only bad thing for regular racers is that because of the number of people participating, it is hard to get a personal best (pb), but accept that before you start and you will love it.
A half marathon is not something you can do just by turning up on the day, but there are plenty of places you can look to find advice on training smartly. Runner's World magazine have schedules that you can print off or download to your computer and last year they had a weekly training email that you could sign up to receive.
I am absolutely convinced that anyone can run a half marathon and there really isn't a better one to do. The Red Arrows flying over you during the race and at the end is something I will never forget. My medal is a treasured one and hung proudly on my wall.
"I couldn't run 13.1 miles" is the most common phrase when you mention the great north run to people. Let's start at the beginning.
Entering - The way to enter is through a ballot system. To enter this first go to www.greatrun.org and register your email address to be notified when the ballot begins. Then once you receive notification you enter the ballot and will be informed after a month or so if you are successful. And then the hard work starts....
Course and length - the Great North Run is a half marathon (13.1 miles) and goes from Newcastle Upon Type to South Shields. The run is usually around the end of September or early October. The course has a number of gradual uphills (some of which you really feel but others are not too bad) and then a sharp decline (at 12 miles) until a flat finish. It costs around £40 to enter and there are approximately 50,000 runners, most of whom run for charity.
Training - Training is a must for a run like this because it can be tough but my approach was to slowly build up training until I could comfortably jog 10 miles although different people need different levels of training. My training involved running and swimming. You should start training early to avoid trying to cram it all in at the end. I started in May but slowly built it up from there.
Hotels - book a hotel early as there are 50,000 runners and their supporters all converging on the north east that weekend leading to massive demand for accomodation.
On the day - it takes time to get to the start because of the sheer numbers involved to leave plenty of time. The race starts on a dual carriageway (obviously closed). The race is quite congested for the first mile or so but after that it gets better. There are markers at each mile and as the race progresses you do start to wonder where the next mile marker will be!! There are also water and lucozade stops along the route to ensure you keep hydrated. The people of the north-east and charity supporters also turn out in force each year all along the course to cheer you on which gives you an extra spring in your step.
At the finish line you get a commemorate t-shirt and medal and a goody bag with water, lucozade and snacks in it and then there is a family meeting area with letters of the alphabet on poles so you can arrange to meet your family by one of those.
Overall, it is a great experience and with a bit of training most people could have a good do at it.
Are your New Years resolutions starting to falter? Perhaps you are still looking for a fresh challenge to kick-start 2009? Wouldn't it be brilliant to raise money for those charities that really mean something to you?
Well, if you are in reasonable physical shape and are able to commit to a few hours a week of training, why not consider taking part in Britain's biggest annual running event, the very appropriately named - Great North Run.....
****One Amazing Race****
Every year, more than 50,000 people from a complete cross-section of ages (well 17 and above), abilities, and walks of life, gain entry to the annual Great North Run. They each get to take on and experience first hand the uniquely atmospheric and undulating 13.1 mile journey from Newcastle City Centre to South Shields on the North East coast and in the process manage to collectively raise a staggering £10 million for charities. No doubt the vast majority of you will at least have seen the extensive BBC sports coverage of the event, always run on a Sunday morning typically in either late September or October
Between 1995 and 2005 I've been lucky enough to have completed the course on no less than six occasions, raising oodles of cash for worthy causes in the process and can honestly say I've loved every minute of each experience (however painful the blisters!)
So, if you've ever wondered what it's actually like to experience it at ground level, from a participant's perspective, please come with me now. Come on, get off that mental couch, grab your virtual trainers and join me, because I'm about to take you on an access all areas, guided tour of the biggest mass participation half marathon event on the planet!!
First things first, you have to get yourself a place. A potentially tricky business when you consider over 100,000 people apply every year! You can easily enter online, however entries typically close by early January, and the ballot is drawn in early February. Don't be disheartened though- there are any number of charities that can offer you guaranteed places, on the proviso that you raise at least a threshold amount. The entry fee for this year's race on the 20th September 2009 is £42, which may seem a lot but you do get a, t-shirt and medal, as well as a fantastic goodie bag for your efforts.
The other thing you need to carefully consider, is hotel accommodation. Believe me, Great north weekend is truly a hotel operators dream! Literally within a few weeks of next year's race date being announced you can pretty much draw a 30 mile radius round Newcastle and guarantee that every single hotel in the area is booked up. Don't panic - the official website at http://www.greatrun.org/ can help and road and rail access is very well organised on the day itself.
If you are able to make a whole weekend of it, with the Junior run and road race series taking place down by the Quayside on the Saturday, as well as the giant Pasta Party over by the finish area the night before, there's plenty going on prior to the big race itself. Would also strongly advise you purchase a day or weekend pass in advance for the Metro subway service, it's definitely the best way to get around the place, and you don't want to be queuing to buy tickets on the day.
****On your marks, get set, slow....!****
The day's finally arrived. The adrenalin's already pumping, the streets are teeming with huge numbers of runners and wellwishers slowly making their way down to the start area. As advised we get there in plenty of time (ideally by around 9.15am at the latest - earlier still if you want to put stuff on the baggage buses). We've had our brekky, no need for full English extravaganzas or energy bar nonsense, just a normal toast and cereal affair, and we're sipping on some water.
Standing up on the first viewing bridge you can see the elite runners up at the front, maybe spot a celeb or two, listening to the chirpy fella on the PA booming out the welcomes and announcements. Looking at the never ending colourful kaleidoscope of teeming humanity stretching out as far as the eye can see, the sheer enormity of the occasion suddenly dawns on you.
In the thick of all that anticipation and excitement comes a timely reminder of what all those long hours of training and effort are really all about. Our genial host introduces the now established annual tradition which allows us all to pause and reflect on all those dear people we've loved and lost, for so many the very reason and inspiration for them being here today. We stand silent and listen to that iconic hymn of love and camaraderie, Abide with me.
Maybe just time to see the wheelchair and ladies races which start around 10am, safe in the knowledge that Paula will be all cosy, feet up in her ice bath long before we even reach the half way mark. Final preparations, sensibly applying liberal amounts of vaseline to those sensitive areas - believe me, it can be painful otherwise - on my first run, I wore a charity shirt a size too small, it rained , it sunshined, and only when I eventually crossed the line did I realise I actually had two streaks of blood down my t-shirt - joggers nipple is not for the faint hearted!!
Next up, offloading the extra jerseys and trackie bottoms to our support team. Another top tip. particularly if you are running for charities is to get them to write your first name on your shirt front and back- its amazing how many people lining the route take the time to shout encouragement to you, and when you hear your name it's a huge lift. Cuddles and kisses and fond farewells to our loved ones who head off to try and beat the queues for the Metro in order to at least get to the finish area in time to see the elite leading men skipping down the home straight without a care in the world.
Back to matters in hand, if we can brave the portaloo queues at this stage, it's well worth taking a pre-race pee-stop - although there are one or two available on route, they're always in big demand; naturally there's always the grassy tree-lined banks up at the side for a more primeval direct option - I always admire the way people try to hide what they're doing up there and act all casual ; not so easy for the chap I saw one year with a full Angel of the North kit strapped on his back!
Now its time to line up properly, race start at 10.40am. Still, no need for us to try and squeeze too close to the front, each entrant wears their own electronic chip timer, so no worries if it takes 15 minutes to even cross the start line. In any case, towards the back you always find yourselves in the banter-rich company of the 100% fun runners and the heavyweight costumed hardcore charity ambassadors. Take a moment to marvel in their commitment to the cause and think about what it means to you.
Bang! At last our celebrity starter gets us underway and we're finally moving. Well technically speaking, more like trudging our way through a collective mass of elbows and knees, discarded bin bags, bottles and old sweatshirts, until finally we get a bit of space in front to get moving.
****Over the Bridge that day, that's where they spotted me...****
Warning! Warning! - This first mile of the course is pretty much downhill all the way to the Tyne Bridge and it's so easy to get carried along with the waves of people rushing ahead and end up running much faster than your normal training pace. There's an air of frenzied excitement that's hard to ignore, as you run under the first couple of bridges, accompanied to bellowing chants of Oggy, Oggy Oggy
I've learnt from bitter previous experience, if you want to run a good race here, the trick is to fight your natural instincts to keep up with those around you and start slow. Back in 1999, I grossly exaggerated my estimated finish time to 1hr 30 mins just so I could start close to the front and can still remember feeling like I was caught in a stampede, and by 2 or 3 miles I had to start alternating walking and running the rest of the way - not pleasant, and my worst ever finish time. Much more satisfying to start slow and overtake loads of people on the way round.
So, here we are at last, trotting our way over the mighty Tyne Bridge, barely a chance to take it in before we spot the giant camera gantry at the end. Now I have to say, despite all the hours of TV coverage, in all the years I've taken part, I've only once been seen by friends and family back home, and that was in my most recent effort of 2005. The minimal chance of being spotted in no way perturbs us from waving frantically like a giant collective swarm of deranged jellyfish before we charge down to the roundabout at the end where the first of many bands lining the route are invariably trotting out Blaydon Races at full tilt...
****Reality check - 9 miles of dual carriageway ahead****
Now what you don't always appreciate from the TV pictures is that pretty much all of the major landmarks and points of interest on route are concentrated either in the first bit up to the bridge or in the last couple of miles back through the outskirts of South Shields and the never ending coastal stretch at the end.
So somewhere around the 3 mile mark you realise that you are now on a continous dual laned, mostly straight but at the same time constantly undulating and gradually inclining road run. There's no question that as the initial enthusiasm starts to evaporate and you notice the chatter around you getting a little muted, inevitably some doubts will start to creep in about levels of fitness, preparation and being able to complete the distance.
The best way I've found to combat this is to break things down into manageable chunks, and set yourself little challenges along the way. My own personal favourite strategy is to try and target anybody running in a fancy dress outfit, whether it be the countless Scooby Doos, 118s or Supermen, or my own personal favourites the four elegantly attired Wombles from the Jesuit mission, and make sure you keep a mental score as you overtake them.
They are easy to pick out from the crowd ahead, usually easy enough to reel in - particularly the ones in the baking hot suits are bound to be tiring by this point - and best of all you find that when you run alongside them you get spurred on by the extra cheers from the side of the road as the kids recognise their favourite characters, everyone's a winner!
There are water stations spread every couple of miles from about 4 miles onwards. Best to be cautious and slow down around the watering holes, lots of people dive in early or start walking abruptly and it's far too easy to turn an ankle on all the empties scattered on the floor.
At last we reach the half-way point (if you are running for special reasons, the BBC usually have an interviewer up on the gantry near the Shell Garage here) and our weary legs get a rhythm injection spurred on by a guitar wielding drum happy live band bashing out "Keep on running"
Duly we oblige, gaining further momentum through the next few miles by high-fiving the kids lining the footpaths, we've already caught two of the famous 4, only Uncle Bulgaria and Madame Chalet can deny us now.
Our renewed enthusiasm is only temporarily dampened at the 8 mile mark when the one-legged fella sales past us on his crutches (yes it did happen to me in 1995)
****Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...****
Beyond 10 miles we reach civilization once more, and the scores of people young and old armed with cooling hose pipes, ghetto blasters pumping out yes you guessed it "keep on running" dishing out cups of water, biscuits, orange segments and sweeties are welcome relief. The only trouble is this is where the road gets pretty steep, so there's a lot of walking going on around you at this stage. But there's no time for us to slow up now, there's a tartan clad giant ball of fur within range and at last, Bulgaria has been passed.
Finally we reach the summit and cross the next roundabout there's a short, sheer 1 in 4 drop slope which leads right down to the sea if you can't make the turn. Frankly by this point we can only dream of having the energy levels in the tank to be able to make the for some traditional pub on the corner stop off.
Welcome to the longest home stretch imaginable - claimed to be just over a mile but as you look into the distance it seems like five. It's pure seaside, so mixed in with that welcome breeze you get the entoxicating whiff of burgers and icecreams from the sides.
At last, the 800 metres to go sign, and you can hear the faint whispers of the finishing line commentary. We've paced it well, and are round about the 2hr 20 mark, which puts us mid-fun running pack, safe in the knowledge there'll be at least 10,000 behind us in the final reckoning.
Furtive glances to the side are finally rewarded with the beautifully welcome sight of my good lady wife cheering us on from the sidelines. Suddenly my legs have rocket fuel in them and inexplicably I'm sprinting. You bravely keep the pace for a while and manage to pass on the sighting of all sightings. Chalet is only just up ahead. A mission is a mission, Jesuit or otherwise, and I'm going for it. Just on the final corner, moments from the line I catch the first lady of Wombling and with dramatic aplomb I dip for the line like a 100m runner.
It's over, we've made it, and I am overwhelmed with the sense of achievement written all over your face as you cross the line - or is it laughter as you gently pick me up of the floor and quickly rub my shoulders to try and ease the onset of severe cramping brought on by my late late victory surge.
Off we trot through the finishing area, past Sue Barker doing her final to camera wrap ups, through the endless lines to gain medal and shirts, and our last weary steps to the family fun area. No point trying mobiles at this stage, the networks simply can't cope. Just head to the amphitheatre of A to Zs where you can find your loved ones presuming you can still remember your name at this point.
Big hugs, ouch my shoulders, crash down on the grass bank get the burger and double chocolate cone order in and relax - we've done it - see you next year :) !
I've really got into running in the last few years, and have now run the Bupa Great South Run twice- in 2006 and 2008. The run is 10 miles, and takes you round the finest sites of Portsmouth and Southsea, on the South coast.
The race starts in Southsea then takes you through the cobbles historic waterfront and into the town centre. You then race past Southsea common, round some resdential streets and back along the seafront.
This is a great race and I'd definitely recommend it to any runners or would-be runners. The race is flat (much more so than the Great North Run) which means that you're in with a good chance of a personal best. The course is varied and interesting, taking in some great sites and the supporters are fantastic. I've run for charities both years, and the charity supporters really keep you going. The goody bag you get at the end is good too, containing a T-shirt, a medal and some goodies to eat.
The only downside for me has been the weather- both years I have run it has been really wet, and pretty windy. I guess that this is to be expected of a race in October along the seafront, but is does make the ten miles that bit more arduous!
The Great South Run is a 10 mile/16km course which takes you around the sites of Portsmouth. Along the way you run past the historic dockyard and the beautiful beach.
The course is generally flat, with only a couple of small inclines. This makes it a good course to get a personal best or to start your running career.
The race is held at the end of October and therefore the weather can sometimes put a dampener on the event. I have run it the last three years and each time race day has been wet and windy. For those running the race for the first time the final two miles along the seafront can be quite draining if you haven't left enough fuel in the tank to deal with the strong headwinds that you will often find there.
Although the weather is often very dismal it does not stop friends, family and the residents of Portsmouth lining the streets to cheer the runners on. This, combined with the live bands that play along the route, help to keep the runners going.
One downside to the event is the parking. Using public transport is by far the best option because otherwise you will find you are in for a very long wait to exit the car park. However the organisation of the event does appear to improve each year. The goodie bags at the end are a little bare but you do get a nice t-shirt and medal for your effort.
Overall the race has grown from strength to strength in recent years and is now covered live for Channel five. Top athletes are being attracted to the race, including Paula Radcliffe this year. If you are looking for a fun and friendly race (and don't mind getting a little wet) then this is the event for you.
I have no idea why i decided to do the GNR, i think it was decided in Feb sort of time. Between my boyfirend, my sister and I, I have been blamed with having the idea.
I didnt get in on the ballot and thus had to apply to run through a charity (my sister and boyfriend got in on the ballot). I decided to run for cancer research, no particular reason, i suppose its a good charity!
The run itself was fine, i had done the training and can run that distance. what really annoyed me was the organisation.
Ok so it is a massive event and it must be a total headache to organise but here are my suggestions for you too look out for but also for organisers!
The start, for some reason spectators were right down next to the 'pens' where runners start from. People eacorting their loved ones to the start to kiss them goodbye. Well they just were in the way totally! Its very nice that they wanted to say goodbye and good luck but when there is only restricted space to walk in and 53thousand people are trying to get into place do you really need another few thousand jamming the place up just to say goodbye???
Once in the 'pen' i found there were people who either lied about how fast they could run it to get into a position so far forward or were just totally ignorant! I was in the 'under 2 hours' pen and there were some people who were running whilst pushing push chairs, some people who were obviously not fit enough and just totally should not have been there! It is very annoying as I then had to weave my way round them as i was trying to run it under 2hours! Some people were even walking by the time they go to the tyne bridge and thats only 2 miles in!!!
At the finish dont bother taking a mobile phone, there is no signal in South Shields as the GNR sends out texts of your finish time to up to 3 people. so 53thousand people sign up to that service thats 159thousand texts being sent over 5hours or so plus then 53thousand people trying to phone eachother to meet up.
The Great North Run.
After two and a half years of living in the Capital of the North I have finally decided that it is finally time to get running! Yes, in a moment of madness I have taken a place on this year's Great North Run. On the 1st October I will be there huffing and puffing my way up the 13 mile (21.09 km) course in order to support the Children's Society and I can't wait!
History of The Great North Run.
The Great North Run was devised by former Olympic bronze medalist Brendan Foster, inspired by the Round the Bays Race which takes place annually in New Zealand. The first ever Great North Run was staged on the 28th June, 1981. Back then only 12,000 runners participated. The Great North Run is now in the Guinness Book of Records as being the largest half marathon in the world.
Every year Newcastle-Gateshead-Tyneside welcomes over 40,000 runners and many more supporters. Newcastle is a wonderful City. I just love it up here and it would be a great place to get away for the weekend if you are interested in running or supporting.
Road closures will begin at approximately 8.45 on the day of the run. Thus the best way to get there is the metro (there are stations across Newcastle, Gateshead and North and South Tyneside). If you can't make it in person then the run will be televised live on BBC 1 from 9.30am.
The race starts on the central motorway in City Central Newcastle Upon Tyne and the course will take us steadily uphill all the way to an area of South Shields on the coast, called the Leas.
Facts About the Great North Run.
>>>The run celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005 with over 45,000 runners.
>>>On the day of the race over 2,500 workers and volunteers supervise the race.
>>>Since the first Great North Run, a total of 8,027,758 miles have been run.
>>>In 2001 Andrew Shippey, single handedly raised £385,000 in sponsorship money for Cancer Research UK.
>>> Runners stretch back over half a mile from the start line and several years ago, one runner dropped out before he'd crossed the start line.
>>>The Great North Run course record of 59mins 37secs was set in 2004 by Dejene Berhanu.
>>>Every postcode in the country is represented on the start-line at the Great North Run.
>>> 642,221 people have so far crossed the finish line in South Shields!!
Ways to Enter the Run.
There are two main ways to enter the run.
Firstly you can go to the Bupa Great North Run official website and enter the ballot. Unfortunately the ballot deadline for this year has just passed (it was the 1st Feb). I have three friends who applied for the ballot. Two of them got a place and one did not. This is simply a matter of luck . The cost of taking up a ballot place is £35 (you don't have to pay to enter the draw, only to secure your place).
The second way to run is to apply for a guaranteed place as a sponsored runner. This is the route I took. I applied to the Children's Society in mid January and I got a guaranteed place almost straight away, I place £25 for this place. In return for my place I must raise a minimum of £300 for them. I hope to raise £400.
For a list of charities who are also looking for runners please see http://gnr.realbuzz.com/run_for_charity/ There are literally hundreds of charities so you can run for almost any cause possible. There will be some variation as to the registration fee and the sponsorship required the above is just the specification for the Children's Society.
There are still places available as a sponsored runner so if you're interested get applying!
The Bupa Great North Run welcomes applications from wheelchairs users, either as a solo participant or as an assisted case. Minimum age is 17.
According to the official website once I have completed the run I will receive a medal and a limited addition T-shirt along with a goodie bag containing a bottle of water amongst other goodies!
My Training Program.
I received a detailed training program from the Children's Society which starts 12 weeks before the date of the run. But here's a little bit of info about what I will be putting myself through in the coming months to get myself fit enough for the 13 miles.
At the moment I am swimming 50 lengths once or twice a week (this has already increased from 40) . I also get a 40 minute walk daily which is helping to strengthen my legs. I am not doing any running yet because running around alone in the dark doesn't appeal, but the nights are getting longer and longer by the day so I'll be out there soon enough!
I will update my training programme as the run date gets closer and closer.
As stated above I have a place to run for the Children's society. The society's aim is to help children who fall in to one of four categories: children at risk on the streets, children in trouble with the law, disabled children and young refugees. The society is celebrating its 125th anniversay this year!!!
If you would like to do something worthwhile then please sponsor me online. You can do this by going to the following link https://www.bmycharity.com/nickyturnill
Come on guys this is for a really good cause and I am going to need something to get me through those 13 miles gradually uphill.
This is completely genuine plea and by sponsoring online you can be sure that I will never see your money. Donations will go DIRECTLY to the Children's society.
Sponsorship so far?
To date I have raised £100. £50 from my beloved partner Paul and £50 from his parents who said they would match him!
I will continue to update this review as the money I raise both on and offline increases.
On October 1st 2006 I will run 13 miles with 45,000 other runners in the Great North Run. I will do this to raise money for the Children's Society and I need YOUR help to make a different for these kids.
Oggy Oggy Oggy.... If I mispelt the above, then I apologise, but those words are forever in my memory, as a happy part of the great north run. Fairly near the start of the run, Jimmy saville shouts those words, and the runners respond in unison with a hearty “OYY OYY OYY” (trust me, its a wonderful experience - but you have to experience it to understand). This run, or more precisely this half marathon, is tough, but it is a event that you will never forget. Sure you may forget the route, I have, you may forget the pain, I did, but you won’t forget the fun, the atmosphere and the greatness of the event. I must admit that I have only done this run twice, and both times were in the late 80’s, but nothing much changes on this run, maybe the band or celebrities at the start changes from year to year, along with some different runners, but the principal is always the same. So enough general banter, let’s get down to some nitty gritty stuff.. Can you do the Great North Run....??? ------------------------------------------- Well the answer is probably yes, obviously some people will not be able to participate due to health problems, so check with your doctor if your not sure. Some people train very hard, and are serious runners, whereas many just take part as fun runners, many even just walk the course, often runners / walkers do so for charity, I love to think how much money the GNR must have made for charity. (OK so that sentence sounded odd, but how many times have you read, I hate to think.......) Sadly as the run is VERY popular, not every one can get in, they have to limit the run to a certain number, but in general you stand a good chance of getting in (10’s of thousands of ppl run) Will I enjoy it. ------------------ Almost certainly. I would be surp
rised if you didn't, just remember it’s a long long way to run, and have fun, and take it easy unless you are a serious runner. Whats it like --------------- The run has 2 main starts, one for the masses, and a disabled start, where wheelchair athletes participate - and boy those guys and girls can fly in those chairs! I cant comment on the wheelchair race much more than that, as I am fortunate to be able bodied, but they are a big part of the event. Due to the massive amount of runners, at the start you have to position yourself according to your race number, the higher the number, the further back you are in the queue to start. This is compensated for at the end of the race , when the alter your time to reflect your starting position (BIG hint - TIME YOURSELF if you want to know your exact time). Along the route there are watering stations where you can get water drinks, and wet sponges, and the locals often provide water too, some are even thoughtful enough to hose down willing runners with a hosepipe (ahhh that was a welcome hosing down!!!) I know I have mentioned the terrific atmosphere before, but I will mention it again, everyone is soo friendly, the crowds which line the entire route offer constant encouragement and support, it really is unbelievable. You may be lucky and be interviewed for TV as you run, or get your face on TV from one of the many camera crews present, and you stand a chance of seeing one of the many celebrities that participate in the run, not to mention being able to see all those great costumes people wear for charity (and they must sweat like I don't know what in them!!) The run crosses the Newcastle Tyne Bridge, famous around the world, for some reason, but don't worry all traffic is stopped along the whole route (emergency vehicles are allowed, in an emergency), and you will see some of the north east coast when you f
inish in south shields (and that last bit, just when you think you are nearly finished - I can tell you - its a bummer., it goes on and on and on....) Closing words --------------- I'm glad I took part, I treasure my two medals, they mean more to me than my crowns in some ways, and I just realised today that they look like Jim will fix it medals (another story), but they are mine, and I have the memories, and that's what counts for me. Why not try it yourself?
I have always been a fan of The Great North Run especially since I moved to the north east three years ago. On Sunday October 22nd this year I experienced it first hand when my husband decided to run the half marathon.
The race has become one of the biggest running events in the country and is a great day for Tyneside. The race starts on the A167, one of the main arterial roads through central Newcastle, crosses the famous Tyne Bridge, over he river Tyne to Gateshead and then on to South Shields and the coast.
The atmosphere was tremendous with people lining the entire route and bands playing at strategic points. This year the race was started by local hero and Olypic gold medal winner Jonathan Edwards and Jimmy Saville was there to encourage the runners.
What I particularly like about this event is that it allows abled and non abled people to join together along with serious and not so serious runners (fun Runners). A lot of the fun runners wear cumbersome fancy dress but still manage to run or walk the 13 miles. This years race was started with wheelchair competitors together with blind and partially sighted runners.
The event raises a lot of money for charity, the main charity of the race being SPARKS which helps babies bore prematurely. Many celebrities were running for Children In Need and my husband along with his colleagues supported Headway which is a charity dealing with victims of head injuries.
This year a record 36.000 plus finished the race, first over the line being Britain's own Paula Radcliffe. Fortunately the weather was sunny if not a little cold. I was lucky enough to be at the finish and witnessed many a relieved runner. The spectators cheered everyone over the line. I found the whole event extremely emotional.
My husband has already registered for next years race and who knows I just might join him!.