Okay, so I’m just not a runner, so I have never physically done the Great North Run. However, because I live in South Shields I have grown up with it nontheless. They call it the World’s Favourite Half Marathon and I’d like to think that’s because we are the best cheerleaders along the sideline.
Today’s race saw both of last years winners hold on to their titles; Mary Keitany held her position from the go, whereas Mo Farah fought till the very end to keep his title.
There was also some brilliant fancy dress out, there were the typical superheroes, but also a camel which had two people in the humps surprisingly close to the front, a pair of trainers and even a tin of pek. There was also a guy carrying a karaoke machine singing along which I can’t decide would have encouraged me to run faster or made me cling to his side.
The Red Arrows made their regular appearances too, both at the start line and down at South Shields sea front for the finish line. This was our favourite part – a heart with an arrow through the middle.
Also having one of the world’s most popular half marathons in the world finish in your home town means firstly almost everybody you know has completed it at some point and secondly you’ve always got somebody to look out for and wave at.
5 Things Only People That Live In Shields Know About The Great North Run
1. It’s the prettiest South Shields will ever look; if there’s any roadworks they will temporarily be tidied away and the roads will all be tidied and cleaned in advance.
2. Don’t dream of going anywhere on Great North Run day, you will either not make it out of South Shields or not make it back home on the night, the roads are bedlam.
3. It’s the day the most celebrities will ever be here at any given time (although very few ran this year, it was a disappointment).
4. Just because you’ve made it to South Shields doesn’t mean you’re near the finish line. Sorry!
5. The best way to celebrate is with a pint from the SandDancer and an ice cream from Minchella’s (I know this because I’ve worked in both of those places on GNR day).
On a cheesy note, one of the best things about the GNR is all the charities people are running for; I always feel a little overwhelmed and emotional by it. This year there were loads of people running for Tommy the children’s charity, Macmillan and Cancer Research UK, as well as lots of little local charities such as the Charlie Cook foundation, Cancer Connections and St Claire’s Hospice. They’ve estimated around £25million has been raised.
Good work everybody!