Great Run Local – Gibside, 2nd Feb 2014

22:30     Sumanth Nayak

Great Run Local is a 2k and 5k fun run similar to parkrun (some would say ripoff) that was started in Manchester last year by the Great Run group. It uses RFID wristbands rather than paper barcodes, takes place on Sundays at 9am and is completely free. Unless you lose your wristband for which you pay a £10 replacement fee. Now, I usually stay away from anything associated with Brendan Foster because of the extortionate prices. Why pay something like £25 for the Great North 5k when you can do parkrun for free? When I first heard about this last year and saw the results of the Manchester runs (average of five runners a week) I immediately laughed it off thinking it would be a huge failure. How can it possibly go up against something so established as parkrun? But there are obviously people who can’t get out on a Saturday morning so a bit of a choice is always a good thing. And it it is free after all.

The Gibside event had a trial run last week with just six runners. Today’s inaugural run had seven. Not very promising but even parkrun started with just twelve people. The two lap 5k course is quite hilly and apart from the short grassy start, all on tarmac and hard gravel. When you finish, your wristband is scanned on a smartphone. This takes a few seconds so the timing isn’t going to be super accurate. However, your result will appear on the website immediately which should satisfy those parkrunners that constantly complain about how long it takes to get theirs. There’s a Gibside parkrun starting on the 22nd of February so it’ll be interesting to see what the numbers are like at the two events.