The Great North Run is the world’s most popular half marathon, held annually in Newcastle, England. Yesterday in it’s 31st year it attracted an incredible 54,000 entries. It has grown steadily over the years and in addition to the run on the Sunday, the day before there are fun runs for the kids and a UK v USA free to watch athletics competition attracting Olympic and World Champions.
MyNextRace were fortunate enough to be at the event this year. David having run the race 6 years ago during it’s 25th anniversary flew in on Friday and attended the Saturday athletics meeting, watched the fun runs and then the next day run the race.
The excitement from the kids and their parents was tangible as they run on a great course which includes running across two bridges over the River Tyne which runs through Newcastle. Then the crowds started to build for the athletics meeting which
allows locals and runners in the city for the race the next day to get up close to some big name athletes – including Mo Farah (5000 metre World Champion), Bernard Legat (former World Champion), Hannah England (World Championship silver medalist) and American sprinter Walter Dix.
This event is truely unique including a raised finishing track allow specators to get a great view of all the running events finishes and is something that maybe some of the big North America races should consider.
So David after having made full use of his press pass headed back to his accommodation to get ready for the big race the following day. Having completed in some big marathon races he is well used to participating in big races but 54,000 runner…..never one as large as this! So 6am start for a 10:40 start…..yes the big downside of these huge races is that you need to start early. The race starts on a mortorway (a highway for those in North America!) and to entertain the masses there was a fly-by by the Red Arrows. The race was started by recent World Champion Mo Farah in almost ideal condition which no doubt helped Kenya’s Martin Mathathi wins in a record time and compatriot Lucy Karbuu wins the women’s race in the third fastest time ever on the course.
The race starts in Newcastle and ends in South Shields on the east coast of England and includes a fantastic last mile close to the sea front and where the crowds are almost 10 deep either side and the support and noice is simply incredibly and deafining but most definitely very welcomed after the previous 12 miles which inluded their fair share of hills. David managed to achieve his target of breaking 1 hr 25 mins and was 313th to cross the line.
The Great North is also famous for the monies raised for the many charities represented. Last year over GBP4.4 million was raised and this year despite the economic downturn this amount is expected to be exceeded. David rarely saw a runner who wasn’t representing a charity and/or running in memory of a family member or friend.
So if you want to do a destination half marathon the Great North Run comes very highly recommended by MyNextRace. Yes, the Great North Run is definitely one of the World’s best races.