The Great North Run: Advice and tips for first timers

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Thinking about running in the GNR? Need some Great North Run Advice?

Let us tell you all about the Great North Run, and we give you as much Great North Run Advice as we can!

The Great North Run is an iconic date on the Geordie Calendar. It is the most famous race in the North East.
It can be an experience never to forget, but you should prepare for it the best you can.

Lets move on to some Great North Run Advice!

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Also known as the GNR, The Great North Run is a half-marathon race annually in the chilly North East of England. 

The race, the largest half-marathon in the world, attracts over 57,000 runners each year and is known for its flat and fast course. Crowds of people cram into the streets to participate, and it is quite a sight to see!

The GNR was first held in 1981 and has become a premier event in the running calendar. 

The race starts in Newcastle upon Tyne follows the Tyne all the way until it finishes in South Shields.

The route takes some of the North East’s most iconic landmarks, including the Tyne Bridge and the coast.

In this blog post we will try to offer up some Great North Run advice and information.

Whether you are interested in participating or want to know more about the historic race, read on!

The Great North Run Course

Great North Run Route

The Great North Run course is 13.1 miles long and is known for its flat and fast nature. The route starts in Newcastle upon Tyne, taking runners through the city center before heading towards the coast. 

The race follows the coast, passing through South Shields and finishing at the iconic Sea Front.

One of the favourite features of the Great North Run course is the iconic Tyne Bridge, which runners cross during the race. 

The bridge offers stunning views of the River Tyne and the city of Newcastle and is a highlight for many runners.

The Participants Of The Great North Run

The Great North Run attracts runners of all abilities, from elite athletes to first-time half-marathoners. 

The race is known for its friendly and inclusive atmosphere, with many runners taking part to raise money for charity.

In recent years, the GNR has seen a rise in international participation.

Runners from all over the world are traveling to the North East to participate in the event.

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The Great North Run Event

The Great North Run is more than just a race. It’s a celebration of running and the North East. 

The event attracts over 57,000 runners annually and thousands of spectators who line the course to cheer on the runners.

In addition to the half-marathon, the event includes a Junior and Mini Great North Run and a Great North 5k. 

The weekend also includes a Great North Run Expo, where runners can pick up their race numbers and browse the latest running gear.

Training for the Great North Run

Training for the Great North Run can be daunting, especially for those new to running or who have yet to run a half-marathon. 

However, with the right training plan and mindset, anyone can conquer the 13.1 miles of the GNR.

One key thing to remember when training for the Great North Run is to start early. 

It’s important to give yourself enough time to increase your mileage and avoid injury gradually. A typical training plan for the GNR would involve building up your mileage over 12-16 weeks.

Another critical aspect of training for the GNR is to include various types of exercise in your plan. This can consist of interval training, hill training, and tempo runs. 

Incorporating these types of training into your plan will help to build up your strength and endurance, making you a stronger and more efficient runner.

It’s also important to listen to your body and be mindful of the signs of overtraining. 

This can include fatigue, injury, and a lack of motivation. If you feel any of these symptoms, you must take a step back and rest before continuing your training.

Finally, remember the importance of nutrition and hydration during your training. 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough fluids will help to fuel your body and keep you hydrated.

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tips for great north run first timers

The Great North Run can be a daunting experience, especially for first-time runners.

To help you tackle this challenge, we’ve gathered our Great North Run Advice Top 10 Tips for surviving this demanding race.

Race day is the culmination of all your hard work and training. Therefore, it’s essential to arrive at the start line well-rested, well-fed, and mentally prepared.

Tip 1: Start Slowly

One of first-time runners’ biggest mistakes is starting the race too fast. This can quickly lead to fatigue and injury, ruining your experience. Take your time!

Try and start slowly and gradually increase your pace as you gain momentum. This will help you conserve energy, prevent injury. You want to enjoy the experience!

Taking your time and going your own pace is the best way to finish the race feeling fresh and strong.

Tip 2: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially during a race as long as the Great North Run.

Make sure you drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the race, and be sure to bring a water bottle with you on the day.

There will be water stations along the course, but it’s best to be prepared and carry your own water to stay hydrated throughout the entire race.

Tip 3: Fuel Your Body

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is essential in the days leading up to the race, but it’s also important to eat something on the morning of the race to fuel your body.

Start the day with a breakfast with enough calories to fuel the race, But try not to eat to close to the race, or you may feel uncomfortable while running!

A light breakfast of whole grains and fruits, such as oatmeal and bananas, will give you the energy you need to run your best.

Tip 4: Wear the Right Shoes

Wearing the right shoes can significantly improve your performance and comfort during the race.

It would be a nightmare to show up after months of training only to be let down by your footwear!

Make sure your shoes are well-fitting, supportive, and designed for running.

Consider getting fitted for shoes by a professional to ensure you get the best pair for your feet and running style.

But also remember to wear in your trainers before the race! Or you will get serious blisters.

Tip 5: Train Properly

We need to mention that your training should have been consistent prior to start time.

There is no point in turning up fresh off the couch!

Proper training is key to surviving the Great North Run. Get some Great North Run Advice from someone that has done it before.

Make sure you follow a training plan that includes a variety of workouts, including long runs, speed work, and strength training. This will help you build endurance, increase speed, and prevent injury.

Tip 6: Pace Yourself

Great North Run Advice that is crucial is this: Pacing yourself is essential to making it through the Great North Run!

Set a realistic goal for your pace and stick to it, even if you’re tempted to speed up.

Running consistently will help you conserve energy and finish the race feeling strong.

The excitement and adrenaline of the day can make it easy to get caught up in the moment and go out too fast. It’s essential to stick to your race plan and pace yourself.

Tip 7: Focus on Your Form

Good form is essential for a successful and injury-free race. Pay attention to your posture, landing, and arm swing, and make sure you’re running with proper form.

This will help you conserve energy, run more efficiently, and prevent injury.

Tip 8: Take Breaks When You Need To

Don’t be afraid to take a break or walk when you need to during the race. No one cares! No one is even paying attention to you. Just relax and walk for a bit. This is supposed to be fun!

Walking will allow you to catch your breath, stretch, and rehydrate.

It’s better to take a few breaks and finish the race feeling strong than to push yourself too hard and risk injury or exhaustion.

Tip 9: Stay Motivated

Staying motivated shouldn’t be too hard during The Great North Run. You will be surrounded by thousands of people headed in the same direction! They should all be able to give you Great North Run Advice and Tips!

As always, the day will be more fun if you surround yourself with supportive friends and family and make sure you have a positive attitude for a fun day.

If you are going solo, you can also bring a music player or motivational affirmations to keep you going when you’re running.

Tip 10: Have Fun!

Finally, remember to have fun! The Great North Run is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,

The Great North Run is an iconic event that attracts runners from all over the world.

Take in the sights and sounds of the North East, and savor the feeling of crossing the finish line.
Then grab an ice-cream in South Shields!

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Final Thoughts On the Great North run

The Great North Run has been attracting runners from all over the world for decades now.

With a flat and fast course, the famously friendly atmosphere of the North-East, and stunning coastal views, the GNR is a must-do event for runners of all abilities.

With the right training plan, mindset, and preparation, anyone can conquer the 13.1 miles of the GNR. 

Whether a seasoned runner or a first-time half-marathoner, the Great North Run is an experience you’ll never forget. Get some Great North Run Advice before signing up to make sure it’s a good fit for you!

With a rich history, a large and diverse participant and spectator base, and a well-organized event. 

The Great North Run is an accurate representation of the community and spirit of the North-East!


How long does it take to run the Great North Run?

The route typically takes four hours to complete. A good time for a decent runner would be just under two and a half hours or so. Anything below two hours is excellent.
But it doesn’t matter if this is your first time. Just enjoy the day!

How far is the Great North Run?

The Great North Run is 13.1 Miles. It is the most famous half-marathon in the world.
The race begins in Newcastle upon Tyne, the takes the runners through the city, over the Tyne Bridge, then along the coast to South Shield. Thousands of spectators watch on from the roadside, cheering on the competitors.

How hard is the Great North Run?

The Great North Run is not a challenging half marathon; most people should be OK to enter. The race can be taken at a pace to suit the runner, and there is no shame in taking breaks. The weather is usually fine in the North-East of England and rarely gets too hot. However, there are exceptions to this, and checking the weather and temperatures ahead of time is a must.

What time does the Great North Run start?

At 10:45am, hundreds will gather eagerly at Town Moor to witness the start of The Great North Run. An incredible race of people from around the world. Runners will take off from the Central Motorway in pursuit of glory and victory 13.1 Miles away in South Shields.

Can anyone do the Great North Run?

No, you must be 17 on the event day to participate in the GNR Half Marathon.
However, there are shorter-distance events for children.

How much does it cost to run the Great North Run?

To enter The Great North Run, there is an entry fee of approximately £59 per entry. Both affiliated and unaffiliated participants must pay this fee. If you decide to join the Great North Run through a charity entry, your fee will be included in the donation to that charity organisation. Every step taken during that race goes towards benefiting others!

Are there toilets on the Great North Run?

Yes, don’t worry! There are toilets on the Great North Run route. There shouldn’t be a chance of getting caught short during the race. Not only are there toilets on the route, but also drink stations.
That should help runners avoid getting dehydrated during the race.

Are you allowed to walk the Great North Run?

Of course, you can walk during the Great North Run! You should take the race at your own pace. This is especially true if you are feeling light-headed or feel drowsy. If you start feeling unwell during the race, rehydrate as soon as possible and let someone know how you feel so they can keep an eye on you.

What is the average GNR finish time?

2 hours 12 minutes and 19 seconds is the exact average finish time for the Great North Run.
Anything between 2 hours and 2 hours and 30 minutes is a ‘Good’ time. Although strong runners can break 2 hours with relative ease.

What is the Great North Run record time?

Currently the course record has crashed through the 1 hour barrier for men. It stands at 58mins 56secs, set by Martin Mathathi in 2011. For women, the record stands at 1hr 4mins 28secs, set by Mary Keitany in 2019.

You can find out more about the Great North Run here, at the official website!

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