Great North Run 2017

The biggest half marathon in the world, from Newcastle to South Shields on September 11th 2017!

Who's going?

I've finished my spring marathon and I will start my preparation for it in a few weeks.

It'll be my first. How did people find it last year?


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  • Yep, I'm in. 

    Did it for the first time 2015.  Great event.  

    I'm doing my first marathon next Monday, so will start HM training over the summer.  Want to do Belfast HM the week after GNR for a PB - GNR not really a good PB course for obvious reasons.

    Are you staying over in Newcastle or travelling on the day?
  • Yep, I'm taking part. My first half marathon since returning to running in January after 9yrs off! We are staying between South Shields and Newcastle to avoid the chaos or the metro post race with 3 small kids.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Beth, if you thought the Edinburgh run was busy, wait until you see the GNR - think London marathon on tv (all three start areas) and add 50% more people. The start lane is both sides of the main dual carriageway, but it still takes well over an hour for the people at the back to get over the start line. By which time the guys at the very front are finished! Very, very large crowds, and lots of support, particularly at either end of the route. But if you don't mind the crowds, it's a great event - where else can you see the red arrows as you're running?
  • Chris2304Chris2304 ✭✭✭
    I'm running it for the first time this year.

    The course looks pretty flat (net downhill?) and most of it is on wide dual-carriageways, no? So, apart from the odd bottleneck near the start, I'd have thought it was a pretty fast course. What am I missing? Is the congestion really that bad throughout the race?
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    The course is relatively flat, but there are a few hills in there that can make it hard work. There's one going past the Robin Hood pub, for example, which can be hard work on a hot day. There's also a gentle hill from about 10 miles to around 11.5 (the John Reid road), which isn't steep but it does go on for a while, and at this stage in the race the legs are tired. There's also a very steep drop down to the coast road just before 12 miles which the quads won't like much. I would say the course is undulating - no scary hills to really be wary of, but the road does go up and down a fair bit. And yes, the road is pretty wide - kinda has to be with the numbers running on it!

    But it's not so much the hills that are the problem, it's simply the congestion - there will be over 50,000 people running. Think of all three starts at London put together and then half the same again, over a HM course. If you start in the right place and those around you are running at your pace, then yes, it can be a fast course. But unless that happens, there are way too many people to overtake or make your way around. The number or runners is absolutely bonkers - that's one of the things that make it feel like such a special event, but it would be a real pain if looking for a PB and having to get past people.

    And people can be "optimistic" with their estimated times, so you may want to get yourself to the front of your starting pen if you're looking to get a time.
  • vodkabobvodkabob ✭✭✭
    the main problem with the GNR is people lie about what time they are going to finish it, or buy numbers for pens from Ebay that they shouldn't be starting in, so they start in one of the first few pens but decide to walk the course, so you have to people dodge from very early on. I have seen people walking from 1k on wards and they have started in Pen B or C.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    I was trying to be diplomatic when I said "optimistic". It's amazing how many people start near the front and then seem to struggle within the first 2 miles. Also amazing how many people stop for a pee in the first mile, especially under the overpass for those starting on the left side of the road. Never seen so much pee on a road.
  • Iprice1974Iprice1974 ✭✭✭
    It's my first race this year, I'm struggling to find out what isotonic sports drinks (if any) will be available en route, I've heard they give jelly babies too but can't find any record of it?
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    It's likely to be Lucozade Sport, has been the last few years. I can remember seeing the raspberry flavour and the orange flavour, but there might be others as well. Looking at the course map on their website, the drink stations are at 4.5 and 10 miles. Water stops are at 3, 6, 9 and 11.5 miles. Because of the size of the race, the drinks stops will be long and on both sides of the road, so easy to get to while running.

    The race organisers will provide sports drinks and water, don't think that they provide any food or treats. However, there are lots of charities lining the route giving out fruit, etc., and there will be loads of generous people in the crowd giving out jelly babies, etc. If this is important to you, then perhaps stick a bag in your pocket before you set off?

    You've picked a very busy race for your first one (GNR was my first ever race too). This isn't a problem, just be prepared for the scale of it and the sheer number of runners. When you're planning your day, remember that everything will be very busy - allow plenty of time to get to the start line, and even more to get away from South Shields at the finish. Over 50,000 runners means everything is busy and takes a little longer than you might expect, but it also means you will have a great day and fantastic support.
  • vodkabobvodkabob ✭✭✭
    @Iprice1974 i've never used the sports drink so cannot comment. I can imagine it will be same across all Great Run events so you could possibly check what is on off at Manchester this weekend? As for Jelly Babies, the crowd dish them out, along with Oranges and Ice Pops and banana's.
  • vodkabobvodkabob ✭✭✭
    Just had a look at Man10 and half and there is no sports drinks only water.
  • Rodeoflip,
    Great to see you on here.
    Yes to everyone else, it is the greatest HM in the world - agree with comments about difficulty to get a PB because of the congestion so just go out to enjoy the event - also the Red Arrows fly past in the beginning and display at the end of the race too.
    It will be my 33rd consecutive GNR (missed the first four - just like I missed the first four VLMs).
    My uncle is one f te 98 Ever Presents. - We park on the right hand side of the last roundabout (just before the 12 mile marker) so that we can get away back to Darlington as soon as we have finished as the South of the routeis not closed to traffic - just a tip that works for us.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Hey Harmander - the GNR is the only race I've been at in the UK which can rival London for atmosphere and sense of occasion. I can't match your streak (who could?) but I'm haven't missed a year since my first one. I park in Newcastle and find that if I can get out of South Shields quickly then I can be back in Newcastle and on the road before the traffic gets too badly snarled up.
  • Rodeoflip,
    You are too kind,
    My aunt has run/walked GNR one more than me as she had missed the first three. My uncle runs for Darlington Harriers and we run together. I am trying to catch his marathon total of 128 (will be on 116 by Sunday night).
    We have to wait for her to finish (about 3 hour finish time) by which time my uncle and I have tucked into the sarnies, tea, chocolates and anything else that looks like food. We are then able to get back to Darlington before evening.
    I normally catch the National Express coach at 10:30 the next day to get me back to London.
  • I am in, my first time in the GNR but my husband managed to get in last year. He said there were far too many who began walking shortly after the start and it was so congested he found it difficult to pass groups of people.
  • Once you have finished the GNR , you will be offered a three year membership with guaranteed places - well worth it as you can raise funds with no minimum targets for charity or charities of your choice.
    You can then try to beat your course record if not a PB.
  • Fiona MFiona M ✭✭✭
    Hello, surprised to see there aren't more comments on this since it's less than 3 weeks now!! It will be my first GNR, but not my first half. Has anyone used Nirvana for a coach & accommodation deal? How did you find it? 
  • FayaFaya ✭✭✭
    Hi Fiona, I've booked my accommodation via Nirvana. Price was over half that of the hotels in the area, although as it's uni digs, it does mean no bedding, no towels and no toiletries. But I have a huge amount of camping gear, so I'm not too upset by this. So far I've had no issues with them. 
  • Hi All hope the trainings going well. I'm doing the Great North Run, not out for a fats time it's more to keep someone company plus I had a knee op a few months ago so it's more for training then anything. It will be a run/walk approach.

    Question is how long is your longest  run before tapering, I've done 11 last week and had planned to 11 this week however not sure if that's too long a week before the event itself?


  • Mark wadsworth 2,
    11 mile run a week before is just right - those doing a half marathon for the first time and wanting to finish in comfort (at whatever finishing time) ought to have been building up to at least 2/3 of the distance as a rule of thumb suggests that one 'hits the wall' about a 1/3 of a distance over their longest run.  11 miles is good.
    You might want to taper now and perhaps do the Parkrun on the Saturday at your 1/2 marathon race pace.
  • vodkabobvodkabob ✭✭✭
    > @mark wadsworth 2 said:
    > Hi All hope the trainings going well. I'm doing the Great North Run, not out for a fats time it's more to keep someone company plus I had a knee op a few months ago so it's more for training then anything. It will be a run/walk approach.
    > Question is how long is your longest  run before tapering, I've done 11 last week and had planned to 11 this week however not sure if that's too long a week before the event itself?
    > Thanks

    Hi Mark, I ran 11 last night and i will be running 11 on Sunday too. I don't think I run enough miles to need to taper (around 30-35 a week) but I will do my normal club session on Wed before the race then not run again until Sat morning (very very slow 5k) so that my legs have a couple of days rest.
  • Fiona MFiona M ✭✭✭
    edited September 2017
    Hi Mark, my "get you round" plan had my longest distance at 12 miles last weekend, 8 miles tomorrow, with shorter runs in between. My 11 miles was horrible, the 12 miles was actually better, which was a bit of a psychological boost! 

    Faya, it says in my Nirvana pack that bedding and towels are provided? 
  • And of course, woke up yesterday with horrible sore throat which has turned into rotten cold. Ah well, legs will be VERY  rested! 
  • This is my first GNR and feeling a bit anxious but very excited. Been following a training plan and aiming for around 1.50 to 1.55. Does anyone else have spectators accompanying them and have suggestions on how they could get to a few viewing points either by car or on public transport?
  • Does anybody know if there is a cut off time in the GNR and, if so, what it is?
  • Have known of people finishing in 4 and half hours
  • Thanks. I have been advised that there is a last runner marshal who moves at a 17min mile pace! Has anybody seen them?!
  • Yes I have - on the way back to the car.

    But despair not, if the marshal passes you, you are allowed to finish the race as a pedestrian on the footpath I am told. This is assuming you are not a celeb or taking part for a good cause but have special personal challenges.
  • Sounds reasonable. Do you have a regular run, yourself? I'm just a parkrunner, but that is what is enjoyable.
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