The Great North Run. Why don’t they tell people it’s all uphill?

Still smarting from my latest FLM rejection, I’ve spent the last few days trying to think of a positive slant I can put on this or any other situation. But I’m afraid that ‘Rejection Dejection’ has set in with a vengeance, and I’m finding it pretty hard to stay motivated this week.

In fact, the only time I’ve managed to become remotely animated this week was when I chatted to a young bloke at work who ran the GNR at the weekend. He had a pretty good race by all accounts, despite the congestion, but asked me exactly the same question I asked myself the last time I tackled the GNR in 2006.

“Why the hell don’t they tell you that it’s mainly uphill?”

And you know, that’s a very good question. Being all agog to run it a couple of years ago, I received my pre-race instructions with a lot of anticipation, and was nerdy enough to semi-memorise the elevation map that came with it, reasoning that however tough some of the hills got, I’d be able to motivate myself by knowing how far I had to go until I could enjoy a little blessed downhill running.

So I was expecting ups and downs, certainly, but not quite as many ups or as few downs as you would believe on a course that runs from a city centre down to the coast. You can see the entirely fictitious elevation map above, which in no way indicates the severity of the climb that lasts for the first 7 miles, before a brief respite and more upward inclines.

The only downhill of note occurs about 2k from the finish, where you flail down a stretch of road so horribly precipitous that you should really be equipped with ropes and crampons to get down it. Of course, it’s a breeze from there, as you run 2k along the frankly very pleasant seafront at South Shields to the finish line.

So what about it Brendan? Why don’t you just ‘fess up to the actual steepness of the course? I still reckon you’d have 52,000 people lining up on the motorway, but maybe they’d all be a little better prepared mentally if they knew the truth?


3 thoughts on “The Great North Run. Why don’t they tell people it’s all uphill?

  1. It’s not uphill!! Infact the course is listed as a ‘downhill’ race (where no official records can be set) because the there are more downs than ups! I’m not sure on the precise figure but a decline of 1% of the race distance is downhill. 🙂

    • Yeah, yeah, yeah. The old myth about the GNR being mainly downhill…. Obviously, it starts in a city centre and ends up at the seaside, so the finish is lower than the start; but there are still many miles of uphills to contend with before that appalling downhill thrash to the sparkling waters of South Shields. Are you Brendan Foster under an assumed name? 🙂

  2. Pingback: Day 361 – Why don’t they tell you it’s all uphill?!?!? » 1095miles - running blog

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