Sunday, 9 September 2018

Observations on The Great North Run Finishing Line

Today we went to give a little moral support to our friend Helen who was partaking of her fifth Great North Run (same as Sir Mo Farah) with her friend Suzanne. The weather held and we were thinking of seeing her off at the beginning, but she was one of around 43,000 participants.

I was surprised to see that the wheelchair winner covered the course in 40 minutes (that's an average of 20 mph) and Sir Mo Farah did it in under an hour therefore averaging 13 mph for the duration of the race.

The organisation was excellent with public transport providing egress and ingress for God knows how many people to the finishing line near Bents Park in South Shields. Given that there were 43,000 participants then each one of those must have averaged say 5 well wishers and support staff so you are probably looking at 200K-250K people in the area.

There were many charities represented, and Helen was running to raise money for St Oswald's Hospices and you can text STOS18£5 to donate £5 to them,

The Red Arrows did a start of race fly past over Newcastle as the runners went over the Tyne Bridge and did a full display after most of the runners had finished. You can see my short far away footage here.

On leaving the number of buses for travellers was phenomenal, and the queues for the Metro and Ferry were extremely long. Luckily Suzanne's sister came and picked us up although we walked a fair way to meet her, but she probably saved us about six hours of queueing, an absolute angel.

Although the organisation was excellent I was surprised that there was absolutely no Mobil Phone Company presence. Duracell were sponsoring and had charging points, and I'm with EE who generally have the best Network coverage, but the sheer number of people meant that they shut down data services and calls were limited to Emergency. I don't know if other providers were the same but I would have thought for such an important event there would have been a presence with signal boosting towers, but there was nothing.

This meant that I couldn't post any video at the time and it may have stopped people from texting donations as well, because that sort of thing is a spur of the moment thing and  once you leave then it's forgotten about. So EE and probably all other mobile phone companies copybooks are blotted, but the day was a huge success and charities did benefit from huge contributions.

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