You may have seen them on the television at the IAAF World Champions in London, so how about seeing them up, close and personal…for free.
I’ve been fortunate to live a stone’s throw away from the venue – along with Quayside and outside the Baltic – since it first came to our streets back in 2010 when the format was England vs Australia. Since then, it’s grown leaps and bounds…
Each year, a HUGE number of world medalists are confirmed during the build up, we already know there’s ‘fighting’ talk between Guy Learmonth and Martyn Rooney as they wrap up their hectic season, with world record holder, Aries Merritt confirmed, as well.
The names continue to drop leading up to the event, so the best way to see who will be there is to keep checking the Great Run twitter page or the City Games news section. So far, there have been some cracking updates including, Andy Butchart in the mile event.
Last year we got to witness one of the greats in middle distance running, when David Rudisha glided around the 500m course, breaking records along the way, it was spectacular to watch him run in person.
It’s very family friendly as well, so if you have kids that adore their athletics and want to meet or collect autographs, this is a perfect opportunity and not only are the athletes just an arm’s length away with the barriers but it’s a very relaxed environment, meaning they come down off the pop-up track to come say hello. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Greg Rutherford and Christian Taylor after they jumped.
It normally runs over 2 hours with no gaps in the proceedings, so there’s always something going on around the three venues, it’s just up to you where you want to watch the action take place from.
The Track: The main focal point of the event. This is based on the Gateshead side of the River Tyne (same side as the Sage) and can have anything from 100m up to 500m, even 200m hurdles with a full line up of the world’s best, it purely depends on what Great Run have in store when they announce the start lists and events.
Pole Vault: Based on the same side of the Tyne as the track and situated just outside the Baltic (the old flour mill). This is the first event that starts the proceedings on the day and a great way to get the crowd going.
Long Jump: It’s a walk across the Tyne to get to this venue, opposite from the Baltic, to get to the runway. The best place to watch the action is at the pit if you can, simply because that’s where the drama takes place AND it’s a perfect spot to get pictures or talk to the athletes.
On top of that, there’s the Great Run Expo or the Pasta Party as it’s known as, that’s very hard to miss! This is the giant tent in the car park of the Sage and it’s showcasing different running businesses and charities, there are some freebies on offer, as well as a bowl of pasta with entertainment, too.
Overall, it’s a great way to spend the afternoon with the family, friends and even if you can’t make it, you can always watch the action on BBC iPlayer.
Check out my vlog from last year’s #GNCG2017