Get Ready for the Great North Run!
The big day is just hours away and we wish everyone the best of luck, and say a huge thank you to the 60,000 runners who will raise an incredible amount of money for charity with their spectacular efforts on Sunday
On the day there’s so much activity on the start line with warm-up artists to get you moving and stretching, and at the finish there’ll be lots of post-run fun in the Apres Run Zone with plenty of food, live music and even a bar so you can wind down and wait for the queues to subside before heading home.
There’s plenty of last minute advice out there but here’s some from the real experts, the GNR organisers:
1. CARB UP
There’s a lot of talk about carb-loading ahead of a big race, and many experts agree that it’s a good strategy. Aim to eat more carbohydrates in the days before your event, with good options including pasta (check out our delicious recipes here), rice, bread, porridge and yoghurt. Don’t overeat though, and take it easy on the caffeine and alcohol – you don’t want to risk an upset stomach!
2. GET SOME SLEEP
Everyone’s different, but aiming for a solid eight hours of shut-eye ahead of a race is a good rule of thumb. And after all of those training runs, you’ll probably need it! If you need some help winding down, try a hot bath (add some Epsom salts to ease sore muscles and joints), herbal tea and cutting down on screen time. Not only will healthy sleep habits help your body prepare for the intensity of the GNR, going into your race in a calm, well-rested state can also help calm any pre-race nerves.
3. GET ORGANISED
Starting points? Course map? Baggage buses? Kit list? How will you be travelling on the day? Have you checked for any transport updates? What time does your wave start, and when will you need to arrive, allowing yourself enough time to go to the loo, get into position and warm up? They are all pretty obvious but it’s amazing just how many runners (including GNR regulars) forget something, and many don’t realise what’s involved pre-race, or appreciate just the sheer number of other runners who are all looking for loos, looking for their starting place, needing to sort their number and can’t find the right bus for their kit bag. Being prepared is key to race day success!
4. GET TO THE START
If you have decided to run with a friend but have different coloured run numbers then all you need to do is join the friends whose number is furthest from the start. In other words: runners can move back in the field but not forward without changing their number. Your number is unique to you so please don’t swap, copy or change it.
So you’re almost there. It might not have been easy. There might have been times you’d rather have licked tarmac off a dirty road than dragged yourself out of the door – but hooray, you’ve done it! Your training is done and there’s a whole city out there waiting to cheer you on. However your training has gone, you’ve done so well to get this far. Remember, no training plan is ever perfect, even for athletes – and bodies, just like life, are complex things. Celebrate and treat yourself a little this week to something extra special – a new pair of running socks, a healthy smoothie – because hey, you’re ace, and you’re nearly done.
Pre-Race Check List
- Find those safety pins and pin your number on safely. Don’t cover the chip with straps or belts as this might affect the accuracy of your time. You chip will do all the timing for you and it doesn’t need to be handed in or return at the end of the run.
- You should take take spare clothing to the start to help you keep warm, so look out clothes you are happy to leave behind at the start, which will all be donated to charity.
- Have you got your Vaseline? Even the most experienced runners use it to avoid chafing.
- Prepare a water bottle. Water is available en-route but it’s always good to be properly hydrated at the start.
- Download the app and get friends and family to do it too.
- Once you reach the start area (What3Words lovely.love.kinks) at the Queen Victoria Road/Claremont Road roundabout, be aware of the new routes to the individual coloured zones. Check the map ahead of time.
- Pre-arrange your post meet up or work out your return route in advance. Obviously both the finish area and public transport are very busy at peak times so allow plenty of time and expect delays. Nexus, Stagecoach, Arriva and GoNorthEast have teamed up to offer a simple, multi-use pass for just £6, valid on all Metros, buses and the South Shields Ferry on Sunday, and it includes travel across Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland. It’s worth buying your ticket in advance to avoid the inevitable queues.
And if you’re just there to cheer the runners on…
If you’re planning to spectate, our advice is to head to either Newcastle (the race start) or South Shields (the race end) early. Remember, thousands of people will be joining you.
To catch the pre-race excitement and to see the Red Arrows soar above you, the Tyne Bridge is a good (but often busy) spot. Get your space early for the best view. Further along the route, the Gateshead Stadium will likely be a less-cramped spot where you can still see plenty of the action. A drumming group are expected to provide some entertainment here. Near the halfway point of the race, The Lakeside Inn in Gateshead is another good viewing point.
In South Shields, cheer from The Marsden Inn to keep the runners going, or you’ll be able to see them whizz by on the corner of Redwell Lane and the Coast Road before they reach their final stretch. You’ll want to get your space early further along Coast Road if you’re hoping to see the runners (especially the elite athletes) cross the finish line.
If you can't join the spectators in Newcastle, you can tune into the live coverage on BBC One presented by Gabby Logan, with on-course reporting from Jeanette Kwakye and JJ Chalmers, and commentary by Steve Cram, Paula Radcliffe and Tanni Grey-Thompson.