Great North Run, 12th September 2021

This was the Great North Run, but not as we know it! For one year only, due to circumstances that I think we all know, the 40th running of the GNR was an out and back route with runners starting in waves. As usual there was a good turnout of Claremont Road Runners – running, volunteering and supporting. There were numerous performances that we can be proud of, but there are 4 that I’d like to highlight.

Firstly, the inspirational Joyce Archibold. Joyce completed the run in 2 hours 27 minutes – the day before her 86th birthday. Truly incredible! Happy birthday, Joyce.

Secondly, one of our female superstars, Sarah Kerr. Sarah just gets better and better and she clocked up a half marathon PB to finish 25th female in the mass start event. The elite ladies had set off some time earlier, but Sarah’s time would have beaten 3 of them too.

Next up is our male superstar, Kris Axon. Kris also got a distance PB and finished in a fantastic 51st place.

Finally, a mention to pacemaker extraordinaire, Nina Jensen. Set that task of pacing runners to a 2:05 finish, Nina led them home in 2:04:58. You can’t get much more accurate than that!

I think there were mixed reviews to the new format. As always with these things, there were pros and cons. Personally, I felt that the start procedures were a bit shambolic and didn’t really follow the information that we had sent beforehand. This meant that I also missed the Claremont water station on the Town Moor before starting (it wasn’t quite where they had been told it would be), and that I actually started in the first wave when I had been given a 10:05 start, though I do appreciate how difficult it must be to organise these things.

On the plus side, I think everybody liked being able to spot friends who were running in the opposite direction on the course, and it was great to be able to shout encouragement to each other. Those of us who had earlier start times also had the privilege of seeing the elite runners fly past on the other side of the carriageway – though I did feel a bit sorry for Helen Obiri who must have had thousands of runners shouting “Go on, Eilish” in support of her British rival! Finishing on the Town Moor also meant an easier journey home for us Newcastle based runners (though I do like finishing by the seaside).

On the negative side, I didn’t like the start waves. Although I appreciate that this meant clearer, less crowded runs for everybody, I missed the mass Claremont gathering before the start and it was more difficult to arrange post-race meet-ups. It also felt wrong to have finished before many had even started.

All in all, it made a change and retained much of the Great North Run atmosphere in difficult circumstances, so we should be thankful for that.

1:13:16Kris Axon (51st)
1:20:54Jonathan Gilroy (running in Jarrow vest)
1:25:36Mark Anderson
1:27:50Sarah Kerr (25th female)
1:33:51Tom Tinsley
1:34:52Simon Lowe
1:42:00Jon Hinchmore
1:42:17Mungai Wairia
1:44:51Brian Hegarty
1:46:58Dean O’Brien
1:48:19Arthur Liu
1:48:27Liz Denyer
1:49:12Richard Slack
1:51:51Isabel Neatrour
1:56:30David Devennie
1:58:22Kat Truong
2:00:27Luke Woodend
2:03:02Tara Hipwood
2:04:58Nina Jensen (2:05 pacer)
2:05:04Michael Teasdale
2:08:37Marie Slack
2:11:03Janet Palmer
2:15:33David Lydall (2:15 pacer)
2:27:01Joyce Archibold
2:32:56Lena Webster-Costella
2:39:57Alice Vialard
2:53:13Terry Welsh (running as Team Coco)
2:55:55Elizabeth O’Mahony
Tom Tinsley -