AJ Bell Great North Run 2023 – Statement from Paul Foster

Paul Foster, Chief Executive of the Great Run Company said, “Yesterday’s unprecedented weather conditions had a significant effect on people leaving the finish line of the Great North Run in South Shields.

“After the hottest Great North Run on record, we experienced 30-50 mm of rain in the space of an hour, which is on par with the average monthly rainfall for the area. This weather phenomenon, which the Met Office has categorised as a mesoscale storm, resulted in flash flooding across the borough.

“The roads most significantly impacted were those around Tyne Dock. This is the route many people were using to leave the area while the race route was still closed to traffic. Road reopening times were then delayed by an hour, due to flooding at multiple locations.

“The weather also meant that the metro service between Bede and Tyne Dock was suspended for an hour and that the Ferry was unable to run due to low visibility for a period of time.

“Buses that were scheduled to move runners away from the finish line were caught up in the resulting traffic congestion, which meant people were waiting for extended periods in bad weather.

“In a response coordinated with Nexus and South Tyneside Council, we were able to redeploy a number of our baggage buses to be used as passenger transport, adding an additional 2500 available journeys back to Newcastle, our staff were on site managing queues and were prioritsing vulnerable passengers as well as handing out additional foil blankets to those waiting.

“We made marquees available to those seeking shelter and had rest centres in South Shields on standby.

“Stakeholders including Nexus, all three local authorities, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police deployed resources to priority areas to manage flooding and congestion.

“After a fantastic day of running, we’re sorry so many people had a challenging journey home, and we appreciated the patience and understanding of runners yesterday as we worked hard to get everyone safely on their way.”