Behind every Great North Run there’s a great running culture
With the Great North Run celebrating its one millionth runner this year, the North East can rightly claim to be among the UK’s top regions for running.
A whopping 56,000 entrants took part in this year’s race and it can truly be called an international event – simply take a look at the A-list competitors in recent years, including multiple Olympic champions Mo Farah, Haile Gebrselassie and Kenenisa Bekele.
But the world’s best half marathon isn’t the only running event the North East has to offer. With rolling landscapes, stunning coastlines and enough hills to test even the best runners, the North East is the perfect place to explore on foot.
If you are looking for a new challenge, here are some of our top suggestions.
Northumberland Castles marathon:
Taking in beaches, roads, fields and cliff tops, this tough but satisfying race is one of the most stunning runs you’ll ever do. With picture postcard villages such as Dunstanburgh and Craster along the route, even the weariest limbs won’t stop you from admiring this distance race.
Try the Cheviots Challenge fell run
For many the thought of making running even harder is enough to make one break out in a cold sweat. But if your love of running stretches to taking on some of the most challenging terrains in the region, why not opt for the Cheviots Challenge. The charitable event raises money for the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, so every leg-sapping mile of the course is all in aid of a good cause.
Run like the Romans
Offering something a bit more unusual than your standard half-marathon, the Hadrian’s Wall Half has been described as a multi-terrain trail race – meaning that it isn’t quite the extreme up and down of a fell run.
While it couldn’t be described as a fast course – the current course record for the race stands at 1hr 21 – following the old Roman wall across Northumberland is an experience like no other.
The short burst: Newcastle Parkrun
Completely free and fun to take part in this weekly 5km timed run is becoming increasingly popular in Newcastle. And with other Parkruns springing up around the region, you won’t have to travel far to find one near you.
The Newcastle event kicks off at 9am every Saturday morning around Exhibition Park in Newcastle. All you need to do to join in is register online and print out your barcode – oh, and thank the army of volunteers who organize and marshall the event for your running pleasure!
Join a running club
If you’ve always fancied being a “Harrier” then the region isn’t short of running clubs sporting the famous name. Alnwick, Morpeth, Gateshead and Tynedale are just some of the names that spring to mind – but whichever running club you do decide to join, you are sure to be met with a smile and friendly air of competitiveness to keep you interested.