Great North Run completed
Yesterday I took part in the Great North Run. According to the official results page, my time was 1:56:49, which I suppose I'm quite pleased with under the circumstances. It was a warm day, and starting back in the green pen, I spent the entire race hunting for a gap to try and overtake people. It really is running in a football crowd. The organisers have done a lot to help with the consequences of having such a large crowd. If you've got an official time from another race which gives credence to your estimated finish time, then you get to begin closer to the front. (I didn't, so I ended up in the greens, although my estimate was pretty close to the truth as it turned out.) Unfortunately, with 50, 000 entries, the start could do with being yet more staggered. Even after walking for the best part of half an hour to the start line, when you get there you're still walking.
Back in 1994 when I last did the GNR, they didn't have chip timing systems, so the only way to get an accurate time was from your own watch. At least with the chip system, you get an official time that's based on when you cross the start line as well as the finish line.
Anyway - if the organisers want to improve things yet further, here are my suggestions:
- Disqualify people who cheat on their start colour. This could easily be done by putting a chip mat at the front of each colour zone and not giving medals to anyone who didn't cross the mat for their colour. (This also accommodates the rule that allows you to go back a colour but not forward.)
- Make it explicit in the guidance to runners that if you are walking, or otherwise slowing down to a pace which forces others to pass you, please get over to the left and let people past. Some people were even walking three abreast after only a mile or two.
So - as stated above, my official time was 1:56:49, which gave me a position of 9690. (I guess at this point I should emphasise the 40, 000 people who came in after me!)
They were also kind enough to provide an official 10 mile split, which was 1:29:08
While running I took 5km splits. Here are the timings off my own watch:
On the 21st October, I'll be doing the Amsterdam half-marathon. That's not really far enough away to get in much extra training, but I still have hopes to come in with a faster time, if only because there'll be less of a crowd. Then again, I alwaystalked a good race. :-)