GNR 2002

Great North Run today
running 13.1 miles great
atmosphere okay
organisation at finnish to get goody bag etc. fine.
Having to weave past people who had started further down teh course when I had started where I thoughtmy finish time was
Sitting in car park for 3 hours just wanting to get home for bath or shower!!!!! need I say more particularly as I live only 20 minutes drive from finish under normal circumstance I feel sorry for those runners who had to wait this lenght of time to get out of carpark then had journey of several hours home. Surely there is a better way of organising teh car park than what happened today.
Having not competed in teh GNR for 7 years this experience has put me off mass participation events. Any one else feel the same?


  • Nope , despite taking 7 hours to get home to Wales, Id do it again
    Fab day
  • I'll do it again, but I do feel pretty much like you do, John - tripping over amblers from barely two miles into the race was infuriating, and getting away from South Shields (and down the A1 later) was hugely tedious. I thought this year's FLM was far better organised.
  • It was my first half marathon and I found it really crowded and frustrating. I was trying to find a way round people for the whole race. I started in the right section but feel that I would have been better off starting further forward but then if everyone else did that things would presumably get worse.

    Are all events that crowded or is the GNR worse than most? Any suggestions for friendly ones coming up where there is a bit more space?

  • Sympathies folks, but remember this is twice as big as the FLM on half the course, and the biggest event of its kind in Europe, I think. There is never going to be a good way of herding 40 000 runners and their support crew out of such a small area at the end; I thought we were clever using the metro and that was another hour wait!
    It's also very hard for anyone hoping to see their friends and family running as the human eye can only register so many faces in the seconds it takes for them to pass!
    Only do it if you're prepared to handle the masses and don't want a good time. Not sure I'll do it again - it's also very expensive at £24, and it's put me off doing FLM next year.
    Probably most smaller regional events are easier but from experience it's possible for car parking arrangements to go wrong even when there are only a few hundred runners.
  • There were 47,000 of you (plus supporters/organisers etc) according to BBC online

    Huge congrats to everyone who did it hope you enjoyed it despite the crowds.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    At the London Marathon, your race number has a pen number on it, based on the estimated time you put on your entry form. I don't know how well this is policed (I started in the last pen, so I doubt anyone would bother checking whether there are faster runners in there), but I understood from the race info that anyone in, say, pen number 1 at the front, with a number 9 on their number, would be made to move back.

    The numbers were pretty small, and that would make it hard to spot, but if they gave runners different coloured numbers, and got them to line up next to a specific colour, rather than an expected time, this could help sort things out a bit more. I have been at races where the time boards are hard to spot, but the barriers could be coloured to match the numbers, making it easier for people to know where they should be starting from.

    I must day, watching yesterday, I firstly thought "I'd love to be there", then as I saw the huge numbers of people finishing around what I hope would be my target time for next year, I thought "maybe not". I'm pretty slow, and so I'm used to being able to run at my own pace after a mile or so. Not sure I could cope being surrounded by so many people for 13 miles!
  • I was annoyed by all the people I had to weave in and out of to try to actually run. I also started at the correct number for the time I thought I'd finish in. I really think some people were just there to walk it...and not at a fast pace. Sure, people can do that, but why not have either a seperate start for them, or indicate to them during the race that they should move over to the side, not the middle of the road. On the other hand, why did they allow a race to take place with 47000 people when there wasn't room for everyone? Or maybe it's not the fault of race organizers and people should actually take it upon themselves to start where they actually think they will finish. Everything else about this race, from toilets on the course, to crowd support, to availability of food and drink afterwards (and those red planes were really fun too!) were great...the running bit was just a little difficult. I also thought Nirvana was great with the bussing to and from the race. It made the logistics of the thing really easy for me!
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Despite my previous post, I've just been on to to register an interest for next year.

  • Me too ! Looks like a race to savour the occasion and atmosphere and not one to go for a PB.
  • I found the GNR is not a race for fast times, and when that clicks you just start enjoying the day.

    This year I enjoyed: -

    The 13.1 mile
    The runners along the way
    The supporters (especially those dishing out chocy biscuits)
    The entertainers (official and otherwise)
    The wagon wheel in my goody bag
    The fast red things in the sky
    The picnic provided by my wife at the end

    I even enjoyed the 3-mile walk to my car to get the picnic

    All-in-all a marvellous day :o)

  • I'm actually relieved that others have found much to moan about as I was worried about being the only one to whinge.

    I was prepared for a mass participation event to be not the place for a PB, but I found that by about half way I was actually losing interest. Maybe they should rename it "Scrum on a motorway."

    On the upside I enjoyed meeting Wild Will & Sean & Olly (RW pacers) at the start, and speaking to longdistancebadger on the way round. Badge, you looked a bit stressed out chasing your pal Caroline who seemed intent on weaving through the crowds at all costs!

    The weather was great and the Red Arrows were spectacular. As for next year - thanks but no thanks.
  • Sorry folks but I do not think this event is organised for the whingers and those wanting to break the sound barrier ( Red arrows apart !! )
    The Great North Run is not a Great North Race for the masses. It is to be expected that the elite runners will have space and full co-operation in running Pbs and for breaking records but the main thrust of the run is for the ordinary people (47.000 of them )The day is designed for club runners,joggers or even the first time participants to enjoy themselves and soak up the atmosphere that they would not otherwise every enjoy..
    I did in fact get my best time this year but I would not have been miffed had I not...I find the downside of this event is the vast number of vehicles trying to leave South Shields and after a couple of years being gridlocked I now always stay overnight and travel back on clear roads although I do realised this may not be possible for many runners/spectators.
    Don't be put off for 2003 - you are participating in the biggest half marathon in the world, that must be worth a few inconveiniences.
  • Here! Here! to you Oldtimer. That was my 4th GNR and I will be entering next year. It is very difficult to get a pb on the day, but there are any number of 1/2 mararthons up and down the country where you can (if that's what you want). The GNR is more about being part of a fantastic day, both for runners and spectators alike. The town centre car parks allow for a speedier departure than parking by the finish, and with that many runners and spectators there are always going to be traffic jams (not much different to commuting to work on a Monday morning!) Perhaps being a little better prepared and ready for these inconveniences would help. I haven't done London yet, so I cannot make a meaningful comparison, but I will definitely be on the start line in 2003.
  • I have to agree with Oldtimer. Sunday's race was my third time in as many years at the GNR and I have to say it's probably my favorite race of the year. You aren't going to get a really fast time because of the sheer weight of numbers but the atmosphere and the cameraderie amongst the supporters and the runners is second to none. I guess it's frustrating if you are trying to set pb's but for me I go to enjoy the day, meet people and have a great time. I was a bit slower round the course this year, but that was due to my lack of fitness, not by being held up by the crowds (although I have to admit that it got a bit congested by the TV cameras).
    My only gripe is the same as OB's - trying to get away from the finish by car is a nightmare but I'm willing to put up with it once a year.

    ND :)
  • I did the Windsor Half Marathon the Sunday before the GNR for the first time, this being the only other half marathon I have entered besides the GNR. My time at Windsor was slower than the GNR which I was suprised at.must have been the geordie hospitality...Hoping to do the Amsterdam one week on Sunday. Anybody got any tips for me ?
  • Oldtimmer - Yes - be careful of the cigarettes
  • Returned last night from the GNR and must say I enjoyed the whole day. We left home at 4.15 am to get to South Shields, parked in the town centre car park and made our way back to the start. As my other half is much faster than me he left me after 4 miles saying "phone me when you finish". Have you tried using a mobile when thousands of others are - all I got was "network buzy". Eventually a text message got through and we met up at the pub (where else). Had something to eat back at the car giving time for traffic to ease a bit and then home with no real traffic problems encountered. Great day and we'll be back next year.
  • Nessie, Tryer - if I haven't popped my clogs I will see you next year. Another good little race for anybody wishing to travel to the North East is the 'Blayden Race'...Now I know many will have heard the song but even like many up here did not know there was a road race. It is a odd distance ( 6 miles) so you would have to be better than me to work out your time but the atmosphere is great with bands playing the old tune along the course.
  • Have to agree with old timer
    Those who want to break pbs should Not enter this race
    Its all about taking part, two of the people I spoke to pre race spent last year having a policeman kissing competition and finished in 3.5 hours!!
    It gets people out running, and shows them that it isnt jist a sport for really fit and elite people!!!
    Surely this is an important fact about running, the elite should be encouraging those walkers who at least made the effort to be there
    You all do it on the forums with us slow runners, but if I was logging on to the forum for the first time and saw some of the wwwwwwwhinges, id be really put off
    Us slowcoaches have to have one race where we feel good, and I think the GNR is it
    The public support was (mostly) fantastic, poeple were even offering us bicuits from their tins at home
    So come on you lot, give us tortoises some credit, we did try, even if walking and im sorry to say that some of your posts made me feel inadequate
    I will definitely be entering next year, and dont really care what time I do, but will try to raise more money
    Rant over
  • Well said Oldtimer, Russell, Benz, etc. See you next year!
  • Like everyone else I was frustrated at a slow start and trying to find space to run. But having given up any hope of a good time I gave myself a good talking to and decided I was taking the whole thing way too seriously! The GNR is not the race to do if you want a PB. But it is an event like no other for all the runners taking part, for all the people raising money for charity and for all those who live on Tyneside. In fact my 89 year old grandmother-in-law has dined out all week on the fact I was coming up from London to run it. I take my running pretty seriously but in future I've decided that the GNR is not about racing its about participating and I will certainly be there again next year!
  • Well said by all who have commented positively about this race

    It was great, the weather was great, the start was an experience, crossing over the tyne bridge with the red arrows fly by was superb, (even though this was after somebody had trippede me up and I went flying !!! only pride and a knee scraped.
    Moving through the field and around others runners did not upset me it actually made me feel better!
    The crowd every inch of the way ( whopps am I allowed to use inch now ?)was great and lifted me, particularly at 9.5 and 11 miles when the going got tough.
    The last mile seemed to go on for every but the good humour, from most of the runners, was never ending.
    Finished in 2 hours 5 mins 10 mins in front of my target for my first marathon.
    Sitting feeling quite knackered at Family meeting Point last great suprise those red planes flying at what appeared zero feet with zero space between finished off a spectacular day.

    Guess what I enjoyed every minute of the day
    and I imagine so did many other people.

    Also manage to raise huge amounts of money for charity as well

    Back next year ? Silly question YES, want a PB who cares.
  • Backing Benz here. This is an event, not just a race. It's the whole thing that counts. It's virtually folklore in the area and I would literally have given my eyeteeth to have been in it. It's never going to be a fast race, but it is an event where the less quick and the fun runners can feel part of it.

    I will enter for next year, and if I get a place there will be no happier runner than I.
  • Scuba, youre a bloke!!
    So i cant have seen you
    Watching some highlights on vid tonight, fantastic
    I feel so much better now
    Well done all
  • Benx

    I was the last time I looked

    I might not be when I get back in work tommorow, I'm not sure if i booked today off as a holiday !!!!!
  • See you next year all, hopefully in official vests
  • Lets hope that Brendon Foster has a new format for next year - all the enthusiastic runnners / joggers /fun runners of all abilities at the front and all the whingers and whiners at the back.......Then they would really have something to moan about !!
    The problem is ( and so very hard to police ) that entrants will not stand in the area that suits their expected times, If they would, the problem would resolve itself.
  • Naughty oldtimer!!
    it was interesting on the highlights that all the celebs interviewed, who had front line places, were a lot slower than a lot on this forum
    Just no justice is there
  • Highs
    Atmosphere cannot be beaten in my experience to date, athough this is the biggest race I've run & naturally excludes international or other great successes such as London.
    The crowds are great - all the way
    Finish is well sign posted - medics / physio's / massages on hand at finish - most welcome.

    People still insist on starting well ahead of their predicted times and are walking at 1st mile marker - truly frustrating / annoying & just continue until the end - this is a real bug bear - some runners are just not considerate - so much so I started with The Runners World Pacers for 1.30 finish & had ability to crack time; however due to congestion RW Pacers had to dodge & weave well ahead of schedule which left many 1.30 people in their wake - unsure just how many they did manage to take with them - but the crowds are just too big to get a realistic time !
    Toilets could do with being spread along the start instead of at the rear.
    Toilets could also do with being libearlly spread at finish
  • One of the reasons this event is dammed sucessful is that it caters for everybody.
    Wheelchair racers,Our hearts go out to every one of them !! I am especially proud to live in the same town as Tanni & Ian
    The Elite who are there to win and break records ( all good for both the event and the Sponsors)
    The celebs who are given priority like starting at the front. I think this is well deserved after not only running three miles in the Junior run surrounded by screaming kids but spending the rest of the day at the mercy of proud parents wanting their children to have an autograph and a photo
    Red Numbers who have previously completed All of the 22 GNRs
    Greens who have completed over ten
    And then the serious club runners who are expected to sub 1.40 followed by the masses....yes it is a run for everybody and we should never knock it
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