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A Very Special Great North Run!

I think it’s fair to say that The Bupa Great North Run is a Geordie institution, for the last 33 years it has attracted thousands of people to the North East to fundraise for charities close to their hearts. The world famous route goes from just North of the city centre (not far from my house), across the iconic Tyne Bridge and all the way to the stunning coast line of South Shields!

gnr start line

A picture I took on Sunday just yards in front of the start line near my home

It is now widely regarded as the greatest half marathon in the world and if you’ve ever taken part, cheered on the runners from the roadside or even watched it on TV, I’m sure you’ll agree! This year though, the Great North Run was even more special then usual because it was the first event of its kind to reach its one millionth finisher! The celebrate this landmark event, the NewcastleGateshead Quayside and the River Tyne were transformed into a huge outdoor arena for a spectacular star studded opening ceremony.

Tens of thousands of people descended on the Quayside last Thursday night, full of excitement and anticipation for a night like no other – including me and James! I have to admit though, we underestimated the number of people that would be attending the event and spent a little bit too long checking out some the Quayside’s new bars (blog post coming soon!) which meant we ended up with rather a poor vantage point behind a massive speaker! In fact this was about the best image I managed to capture…

rachel gnr quayside event 1

Still looks pretty awesome though doesn’t it? The atmosphere was electric, many of the spectators were former runners, as tickets to this special event were available free to them through a ballot… and as Mark Knopfler played the famous song synonymous with Newcastle and the Great North Run, ‘Local Hero’ there must have been hairs standing up on the back of almost every neck!

The Dire Straits frontman was just one of the many performers taking part, there was also Sting, Jimmy Nail, Chase and Status and The Unthanks. As well as great music and impressive performances from local volunteers there was an emotional narration to the ceremony, flawlessly delivered in beautiful Geordie dialect by Tim Healy and Jill Halfpenny. Newcastle’s most famous sons, Ant n Dec, were also on hand to introduce dignitaries and athletes who all had a few words to say including the man who went on to win the race on Sunday, Mo Farah!

As my own photos didn’t turn out that well, I’ve borrowed these amazing images (below and feature image) from North News. I know I’m biased but you’ve got to admit… Geordieland has never looked better!

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It’s hard to put in to the words how proud the whole occasion made me, it was enough to bring a tear to my eye! There were also a few tears shed on Sunday as I cheered on many of my friends taking part in the race. I’ve always loved the Great North Run but this special year has encouraged me more than any other to actually take part – so watch this space in 2015!

By Rachel Kershaw


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Rachel Kershaw

I'm a proud ambassador for all that's great about Geordieland and love sharing the best of what NewcastleGateshead has to offer. I may not be a Geordie born and bred but I've lived here for a over a decade and am proud to call this fabulous region my home!

2 Comments

  1. Wow that photo you took is awesome – the perfect place to take a great picture showing the sheer amount of people partaking.

    I went out to watch this year, we live on Mile 3 so popped out to watch for a little while. OMG it was amazing, I had such a great time. I think I’ve almost convinced myself to give it a go one day, not next year though cos the date clashes with my sister’s wedding 😀

    Chloe x
    newgirlintoon.co.uk

  2. 57, 000 this year and I watched every one pass the start line, it was really emotional! I usually go to the finish line if the weather is nice, the atmosphere there is incredible but it can be a bit of a nightmare getting home! I wish they could do an opening ceremony every year, it was insanely brilliant! Shame you can’t do the run next year, I could have done with a training buddy 😉

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