Crowdsourced runners guide to the Great North Run
Crowdsourced tips from my social network for anybody running the Great North Run on Sunday. See you at the start line.
It’s the night before the night before the Great North Run on Sunday in Newcastle and Gateshead. It starts in the centre of Newcastle and ends in South Shields.
I’m running with David Gallagher and Sarah Hall for the Sunshine Fund. It’s a local charity that provide life changing kit for families with disabled children. Any donations would be much appreciated.
The Great North Run is the biggest half marathon in the world. Around 60,000 people are expected to take part.
Buzzfeed published a community post last year by Kerry Simpson about the 13.1 mile race. It included 29 tips including the Tyne Bridge start, the Red Arrows, and the opportunity to grab a pint at the 11 mile mark.
It’s a very social race. Thanks to Facebook I’ve connected with an old colleague whose partner is running and a class mate from high school 25 years ago.
It gets cold queueing to start. Take an old shirt or t-shirt to keep warm. You can dispose of it on the roadside as you set off. It will be picked up by race staff and recycled.
Eat sweets/energy gels early on in the race, even if you don't think you need them. A couple of jelly babies every couple of miles will see you round nicely.
Take the first mile easy. There's a pretty steep hill on to the Tyne Bridge so start slow or you'll get to Gateshead Stadium and want to sit down. Enjoy the views from the Tyne Bridge and the Red Arrows.
Keep plenty of energy back for the John Reid Road too. It comes at around 11 miles as you turn towards South Shields. Remember the travellator from Gladiators? It'll feel like that. But a mile long. There's usually a woman with Jaffa cakes on the right at the bottom of that road. Take them. Take them all.
The last mile is longer than you thought possible. The last quarter mile is ridiculous.
Soak up the experience
Enjoy the smell of the sea entering your nostrils for the first time as you head into South Shields.
High-five as many kids as you can and encourage people who are struggling. Talk to people, especially if they look really knackered, alone and ready to quit (my name is Stephen and my race number is 37321).
You will see someone at least twenty years older than you running past you, embrace it and don't be tempted to chase after them.
The Tyne Bridge has a Twitter emoji for the weekend. Trigger using #GreatNorthRun #ILoveNewcastle or #GNR2016.
I asked my Facebook network for their tips.
The toilet situation is the stuff of legend. Take a bit of loo roll in your pocket, just in case.
Don't drink too much at the start. There's loads of water stations along the route. You'll end up desperately needing a wee just as the gun goes off. Alternatively you’ll be lined up the wall with 1,000 other men less than a mile into the race as you pass under the central motorway.
No matter how much you don't want to enter the ballot, do it, just to see if you get through.
The spirit of the Great North Run
It's a very special experience. Drink it all in. Enjoy it, hate it, celebrate it, it's a hell of an achievement.
Thanks to Steve Maybury, Liv Scorer, Gemma Coombes, Julian Christopher, Christian Cerisola, Caroline O'Doherty and David Zude for their help and support. Thanks also to our sponsors.
See you on the start line on Sunday and hopefully the finish.