As part of the Newcastle Can initiative, the Newcastle Can team and I have signed up to do the Simplyhealth Great North 5k on Saturday 9 September.

We’ve got our very own 'Newcastle Can' wave, which means that we can all run, jog or walk together on the day of the 5k.

With just six weeks to go until the event, my preparation is underway and I’ve been down to the NewcastleGateshead Quayside for a training run ahead of the event.

We've been working with the Simpyhealth Great North Run team to develop our very own Newcastle Can 5k in 5 weeks training plan, which starts from next week and will really help us prepare during the rest of the summer.

To many participants, 5k is a serious and exciting challenge and crossing that finish line together it is going to be incredible.

Check that out the plan here and get ready to start your training on Monday 7 August.

We've also worked with the Great Run team to share some of the best places to get training in Newcastle:

Exhibition Park and Town Moor

Only a short walk away from the centre of the city is the gorgeous Exhibition Park which links to the Town Moor.

At over 1000 acres, it is larger than New York’s Central Park so you have plenty of space for your run.

You’ll be sharing the open fields with a cow or two, so be careful if you choose to veer off from the tarmac! Home to Wylam Brewery, the park has a play area, tennis courts and a café for your well-deserved post-run break.

Great Run Local

If you're looking for free, friendly, regular running events to try out, why not head to one of the Great Run Local events in the area? The volunteer-led events are perfect for families, free to attend, and you can take your pick from a 2k or a 5k option. All you need to do is register with Great Run Local for your free wristband that tracks your runs, results and your progress over time, and head to a Great Run Local of your choice. 

Great Run Local Gibside
Great Run Local Sunderland
Great Run Local Souter Lighthouse (South Tyneside) - brand new!

The NewcastleGateshead Quayside

A great place to train on flat terrain, the Quayside isn’t just for a pint or two. As well as being able to run past the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge and under the Tyne Bridge, you can follow the river all the way to Gateshead along Hadrian’s Way. Or, you can head in the other direction towards the Ouseburn Valley – just follow the Tyne and you shouldn’t get lost!

Tynemouth Beach

Running on the sand is a way to strengthen your calves and a great excuse to head to the beach.

Tynemouth is a picturesque seaside town only a 20 minute Metro ride away from the city.

On a warm day, you won’t be able to get a proper run on the sand but if you take the footpath overlooking it, you will see be hit by the sea air.

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

Head up further North into Northumberland to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. This is another easy route to follow as you just need to stick by the coast until you reach the Newbiggin Golf Club.

It’s a quiet town so you don’t need to worry about having to bumping into many other runners whilst you’re out and about.

Bolam Lake Country Park

If you’re not a fan of the fresh North Sea breezes, Bolam Lake offers a stunning place to run in the woodland.

Pop into the visitor centre, as they have an orienteering course already mapped out which works equally as well for a running route.

There are also a number of guided and self-guided trails you can follow, depending on the distance you fancy. Gibside, Gateshead Located in the Derwent Valley, Gibside consists of stunning parkland and wooded areas within a National Trust-owned estate.

They boast over 15 miles of footpaths which are fun to explore yourself and get lost in.

Share how your training is going with me on social media using #NewcastleCan and #GreatNorth5k.

If you live in Newcastle or have an NE postcode and haven't yet signed up to Newcastle Can, you can do so today at newcastlecan.com

Enter the Simplyhealth Great North 5k and enter the Newcastle Can wave at: Greatrun.org/North5k

See you on the Quayside!

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall