We've been out to meet some of the people who help make Simplyhealth Great North Run, great. Without them, we simply couldn't stage the world's biggest half marathon. We wanted to shine a light on who they are, their involvement and hear why they love the World's Favourite Run. On a day where 57,000 runners take to the streets of the North East, people from all over come together as a team to stage this world-famous event.
Stay tuned to hear more from our amazing volunteers, staff and businesses who are all part of our Simplyhealth Great North Run family.
Tony helps deliver the thousands of run numbers across the North East. Without the postmen and women around the country – we simply couldn’t do it! Once those 57,000 runners get their hands on their numbers, that's when the real nerves, excitement and anticipation kicks in. Thanks for inducing the pre-race butterflies, Tony!
The Charity Manager
Judith has worked for The Great Run Company for 12 years and looks after 118 charities in the lead up to the event. On the day itself, she starts at 5am and works through until 7pm to strip everything down. A long day, but totally rewarding.
The One Who's Done Them All
Ray has run every single Great North Run since June 1981. The very first event had 12,000 people taking part, now there's almost five times that! Ray works alongside the Great Run team, the charities and the BBC to make sure everything runs like clockwork with our celebrities.
The Operations Team
Anna joined Great Run in April 2017 and will be part of the 15-strong team who are responsible for building the start line of the Simplyhealth Great North Run. Starting at 8pm the night before, the team work through the night putting up the start line gantry, barriers, branding and more! The Operations Team work across different sectors of the course so Anna won’t even see the finish line that thousands of you will cross.
The Club Runner
Having only missed one Great North Run, Dave Leng now helps chaperone some of the VIPs on the day, running by their side the whole way making sure they have the best experience. Dave knows the event back to front and represents Gateshead Harriers who have also been involved since the very beginning. All the chaperones meet at the finish for a beer (or two) and to compare finish times - there’s some healthy competition between them. Dave trains all year round and his top tips? “Don’t have a big breakfast, and don’t go off too fast!”
The Junior Runner
Jenna is 13 years old and is taking on the 4km Junior Run with all her teammates from Boldon Girls Football Club. They’ll be running to raise funds for the club and as part of their training. Jenna represents the thousands of Junior and Mini runners who take part each year, who will hopefully become our future generation of half marathon runners. Her Mum even helps on the weekend too! It's a family affair.
The Pacer Coordinator
Leanne helped set up the very first Great Run Local in the North East at Gibside National Park. Through this, she has got into volunteering and finds it extremely rewarding. Leanne helps across many aspects of the Simplyhealth Great North Run weekend and her main role is to coordinate over 50 pacers who help runners achieve their desired finish time. Leanne also helps at the Pasta Party the day before the main event.
Carole, who's been part of 34 Great North Runs, and Jill are the kind of ladies you want working on the 13.1 course. Along with their army of 70 Scout volunteers from South Tyneside, they help manage the very last water station on course each year, and it is BUSY. Give them a wave if you see them on that last water station!
Rob represents the millions of spectators both on the streets and watching at home who come out to support our amazing runners donning their trainers. He has watched the Simplyhealth Great North Run for around 30 years and supported his friends and family for the past 15 years, including his wife and daughter, so knows every part of the process, from the early morning training runs to the runners fuel needed to take on the 13.1 miles! Who is your Rob?
The Pub Manager
Working on his second Simplyhealth Great North Run weekend, Rich works alongside his fiancé Ashleigh, at the Bamburgh Pub which is located right on the finish line. And we mean RIGHT on the finish line. After experiencing the event for the first time last year, they're ready and waiting for you all to come along for your refreshing post-run beer and bacon sarnie.
The Metro Driver
Paul has been working as a Metro driver for 10 years and is experienced when it comes to Simplyhealth Great North Run day. He will be working on the day this year starting his 11-hour shift bright and early at 6:15am. He will transport around 12,000 people on this train alone. Nexus put on lots of extra staff, volunteers and trains for the event to ensure people can get around smoothly. He’s run the event twice, so he understands what all the fuss is about!
The Ferry Master
Stephen helps make sure the ferry system runs like clockwork on Simplyhealth Great North Run day. He has worked as a Ferry Master for 22 years and is incredibly proud. Part of his job is to set up the barriers and pens to organise all the passengers getting on and off the ferry along with his team of 13 staff starting their day around 7am. The ferry transports 250 passengers each time, bringing the total number to a huge 10,000 taking a trip on the Shields Ferry.