Wednesday 19 September 2012

Time to Run :: The Great North

Hello Lovelies , here's my race  report :0)

 The great north run has expanded over the years into a whole weekend of sporting events so I was keen to take the whole family with me to experience the atmosphere and spectator events.
It was exciting to see the signs on the motorway as we approached Newcastle on Friday afternoon........

On Saturday,the day before the race, we woke to sunshine and caught the bus into Gateshead to see the sights. I have never visited this part of the world before and it took me a while to realize that Gateshead and Newcastle are right next to each other , separated only by the river Tyne......This is the View of Newcastle from Gateshead.......

I thought it looked lovely with all its different bridges, and there is even a Castle.

You can't see the famous Tyne bridge on the picture above because we are stood on it .

 I loved it's construction close up .........

And the elevated views it gives, across the rooftops with their lovely old chimney pots.......

Can you see the sweet little roof garden .

Further into town ( or "Toon" as it's pronounced around here ) Grey street is famous for it's wonderful Georgian architecture.

In fact there were wonderful old buildings everywhere I looked .........

The statue in this picture is the "Stevenson Monument". It's just near the central station where we bought day tickets for the Metro, to use on race day. Newcastle's Metro is a bit like the London underground but mostly it's surface rail.

The boys were keen to see what was happening at the sporting events down at the quays so  we wandered down the pretty streets and joined the crowds .

I loved the Millennium bridge..........

And walking across it gave a wonderful view of the Tyne bridge we had  walked across earlier ( and the other assorted bridges behind it )

Looking the other way was the old Baltic Flour Mill . Yet another striking building , it's now a contemporary art gallery......

On this side of the river we found a grassy bank and sat eating our pasta ( free to half marathon entrants and their families) and watching the great north city games. We sat so long in this sunny spot you can see they were rolling up the track before we left :0) it really was perfect and took my mind off the challenge to come .......for a while.
 Yes, Newcastle is certainly worth a visit. There is so much to see and do, and the people are very friendly.

Soon enough the big day arrived . It's a bit of a military exercise getting to the start on time when so many others are doing the same. We were only staying a few miles from the start but my friend knew how busy it would be.
After six packed Metro trains came and went we eventually squeezed into a  carriage ,two and a half hours before the start time,with loads of others dressed in running gear or fancy dress and clutching bottles of water and bananas.

It was a relief to get off the train and wander through the pretty University grounds to the start........

I didn't take any pictures of the queues for the portaloos but I'm sure you can imagine how long they were!!!!

Ohhh look there's Sue Barker and Mo Farah.....

Getting closer to start time now ...we say good bye to our families and they go to stand on a bridge to watch the start. While we wait  there's plenty to see, both on the big screens ....

tony the fridge

and in the sky..........

Woohoo, the Red Arrows

It took about half an hour after the start gun had sounded to get to the front of the queue :0)
Finally we got going and quite soon got to the Tyne bridge. You can see lots of people wear messages  on their backs. I thought this was such a great idea.You get a "I'm running for......... " with your number, to wear on your back.
When you are running with a lot of people , all going in the same direction, all you get to see is their back so this was somethining interesting to read , and so touching.
 Many were  memories of lost loved ones and some were funny . Like the lady running for "a day with no housework" .

As you can see from the above picture the weather was not sunny on Sunday. Infact it rained  for most of the race. I didn't mind as it's nice and cool but it did mean I didn't feel like getting my camera out of my bum bag. 

The support along the course was just great considering the weather and  how many runners must have gone past the crowds already by the time we arrived.
There are cheeky kids that squirt you with water and  locals holding out tins of biscuits. There are lots of bands along the route too , not to mention the "run through showers"( not needed by many this year )  and the hugely noisy but fun "Bupa Boost Zone" at 10 miles where we were encouraged to take our mind off aching legs and sore feet by doing the mobot and other daft arm signals.

My favourite encouragement was the oggy,oggy,oggy, oi, oi ,oi chant started by random runners and spectators along the route. It was very effective in the echoing  Newcastle tunnels we ran through.

This is the only other picture I took on the course. At the end you run along the seafront at South Sheilds and the Red arrows do a wonderful Aerobatic Display. I'm afraid it's a rubbish picture but I was pretty tired by this point.........

 I was glad I had my camera with me to capture this rainbow over the sea just after I had finished......

How did I do ? well it wasn't my fastest half marathon but that was not my aim. I wanted to enjoy it and I certainly did that. Pacing myself meant I had energy for a strong finish and felt well enough to enjoy our few hours at the seaside afterwards , proudly wearing my medal of course :0)

Mr BM and the boys had to endure more packed train carriages to the finish line and didn't get there very long before me ! That's the thing that makes the great north run so very different from the others I have done. The sheer volume of runners and logistics of getting about . Once you finish there is little point in trying to leave straight away because too many people are trying to do the same thing. 

The organizers put on free entertainment . This is a chap from Emmerdale who runs the race then does a concert for runners and supporters straight afterwards...........

We sat and listened , eating food from our goodie bags , then when it was over had a stroll along the beach........

Thankfully the rain had stopped and , after more food ( fish and chips with loads of salt and vinegar..........yummmy) the sun even shone . It was only fair to give the boys a short visit to the funfair after all their patience and hanging about in the rain........

By six o'clock we decided it should be safe to try the Metro again . Soon we were back at our car and I was so thankful Mr BM was driving home.
 This was the sunset snapped through the car window as we traveled home.......

A stunning end to a weekend to remember and a race like no other.

Jacquie x


  1. Hi Jacquie, not sure how I ended up here but it must have been via a crochet link! Very well done for completing the GNR, It's such an iconic 1/2. I love your photos of the 'toon' and it sounds as if you had a lovely weekend. Time for a bit of a rest now.

  2. Well done you! A fantastic achievement! You will be doing London next! Ada :)

  3. Well done Jaquie!!! Thank you for all this documentation about your marathon weekend : amazing!!!
    Yes, I think Newcastle worth a visit....I dream of it since I was a young girl....Sting comes from Newcastle!! ;oD
    xxx Alessandra

  4. Wow - I am impressed for 2 reasons (1) You ran the ran - I can only dream of that and (2) you had the energy to take any photos!! Well done you on your achievement :) Newcastle is somewhere I've never visited but your pictures make it look like another place to add to my list!

    Hope legs/body/feet have recovered now :)

  5. Well done Jacqui, and many congratulations.
    Thank you so much for your documentation.
    I'm so pleased you enjoyed the North East, and
    hope you return. I don't live too far away
    and visit Newcastle and South Shields often.

  6. Hi Jacquie, thanks for your kind words on my blog. Sorry, I removed the 'follow me button' a while ago 'cos I kept getting strange spam in Chinese! It's back now and the 'follow by email' link is at the bottom of the page too. Many thanks, Susie x

  7. Congratulations Jackie!! I know Newcastle quite well, our second daughter has gone to university there, I was dropping her off on Friday. We were in the university gardens for graduation on the only sunny day last July, and explored like you did. Such a friendly "toon". London or NY marathons next? Fiona x

  8. Congratulations, what an accomplishment!!

  9. Congratulations! That's a lovely medal too. I think the Tyne bridge there has similar construction to the Sydney Harbour Bridge here in Australia. Those chimney pots are spectacular, there are amazingly different shapes and sizes to them.

  10. Phew, I'm exhausted reading you post Jacquie, what a day.....well done.
    I think waiting to get on the train, may have put me off, but good on you.
    Great photos, love all the different bridges and the chimney pots too.
    That chap from Emmerdale must have inexhaustible stores of energy fancy doing
    a concert after the marathon!!
    So, will you have take part in next years marathon?

    Claire x

  11. I should have read your post after my school day was wore me out! It looks like you had an amazing time! Thank you for sharing your adventure. ~Kelly

    unDeniably Domestic

  12. Oh wow! What a fun day! Congratulations on your run! Thanks for posting a bit about it, it was a very good read! Have a great day!


  13. Wow, well done Jacquie, what a fantastic day and event. Lovely to finish off at the beach and have your family to meet you at the end! and great pictures too, Heather x

  14. Congratulations Jacquie! Wonderful stuff, I can't even run for half an hour, let alone half a marathon!
    Jones x

  15. Congratulations on your race, that's a great achievement :-)

  16. Well done! A successful weekend all round by the sounds of things.

  17. Lovely! Lovely photos.........xx

  18. Huge well done! I watched you all on TV on Sunday, brilliant achievement!
    As a proud Geordie its great to see your photos of our Toon, isn't it a great city? xx

  19. I love seeing posts about my home town! (well South Shields is actually my home town, but I live in Newcastle now!) my mums house is just along the road from the finish line of the run! You should definitely make a visit when the place isn't taken over for the run, it's a fantastic city. (I'm not a fan of the GNR personally!)
    To the person above mentioning the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the legend in this area (I haven't checked the facts!) is that the sydney harbour bridge is based on the Tyne bridge!

  20. Congratulations!! It looks like a great race and a good time was had by all. We watched it on TV :)

  21. Congratulations Jacquie on your GNR and thanks for taking all these super pics along the way and sharing them with us...
    It looks and sounds like you enjoyed yourself too..
    I hope your aches and pains have eased now!! a fabulous achievement well done you..
    Hugs Sarah x

  22. Congratulations! Thanks for the pics and I hope that you got a nice massage when you finally got home.
    Best wishes!

  23. Congratulations! We were actually driving up to Durham on Sunday night and saw all the nearly stationary traffic coming back south, so we probably passed you.
    To add to the comments about the Tyne Bridge, it is my understanding that it's identical to the Sydney Harbour Bridge (except on a smaller scale of course), and was built first, and used as a model of the construction for the one in Sydney

  24. WOW. congratulations. Am really impressed. It looks like you had lots of fun.
    I've just run my furthest run so feeling pretty proud of myself but it was only 5 miles. Getting there I guess.

    Congratulations on finishing the run. am very impressed.

  25. Congratulations!! Inspiring stuff, reminds me to keep up with the training... xx

  26. Congrats, Jacquie. I am very impressed. The photos are lovely and I'm glad you finished with some energy.


  27. Well done! I am so impressed! Sounds like a great weekend for the whole family too.

    Ali x

  28. Congratulations Jacquie! Thanks for the photos, it looks like a great day.

  29. Jacquie what an amazing thing! You have truly inspired me to start running again. I do quite like the fish n chips part too. Congratulations and what a beautiful city!
    Sharon xx

  30. Huge congrats to you nd all the runners.

  31. Olá Jacquie!!Fiquei encantada com suas fotos.

    Te desejo tudo de bom e paz!

    Dalva Lima


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