Great North Run 2016 – Our Review of the Big Day



The MNDA tent at the Great North Run always has a party atmosphere. And never more than in September 2016. Maybe it was the fine weather. Maybe because we had a record number of runners – around 300.

Whatever the reason there were plenty of runners and supporters determined to enjoy the day.

Pleased to see you!

The party mood was evident on the road with runner after runner keen to greet our paparazzi:

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05-rachel-sainthouse-helen-stephenson-and-vicky-phelan 06-ellie-randall 07-sophie-barton
The men generally were a little more restrained:

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but there were exceptions:

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There were moving scenes at the MNDA tent as couples were reunited after being separated from each other for all of 3 hours:

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This year for MNDA the biggest party in town was 2Fingers2MND.

2Fingers2MND is made up of the immediate family, relatives and friends of David Greaves. David was diagnosed with MND in June 2015 at the age of 30. Since then David (while he was able) and his extensive network of family and friends have between them raised over £44,000 for MNDA under the “2Fingers2MND” banner.

David has been the subject of a special feature in the Newcastle Chronicle.

A dozen or more members of the campaign completed the Run, getting together afterwards with their supporters to celebrate.


Family-run business

Smaller family and friends groups were plentiful. There was every combination of parents, offspring, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, spouses, lovers and friends.


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22-michelle-papworth-and-supporters 23-tracey-and-john-rose 24-rosalie-mcswiggan-and-david-mccauley

Bringing the kids

Several parents brought their kiddies along. Frances Barratt brought her toddlers, William and Daniel, while George Orton brought his two little boys, Edward and Roland:


Emma Hutchinson’s son Matthew was able to show off his medal from doing the Junior Run the previous day. (He did it last year, too.)

Simon Bisp’s children were able to share in their dad’s glory but Paul Layton’s infant was perhaps a little too young to take it all in.

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Most runners had a special person in mind as their inspiration for doing the Run and quite a number dedicated their Run to that special person:

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One dedication read, “I’m running for my Dad – because he can’t”.

Attracting attention – the hard way

Fancy dress is always a sure way to attract attention and publicise the MND cause. But it comes with the penalty that most fancy dress outfits – apart from the popular orange tutus – are hot, cumbersome and indescribably uncomfortable. They are not for the faint-hearted, especially on a warm sunny day.

This year two examples stood out. Two escapees from Star Wars had attempted to disguise themselves as earthlings Christine Baker and Michael Curtis:

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while Matthew Hollis sported probably the largest waistline ever seen in the Great North Run:


No mean feet

The Great North Run is actually a race, though we may sometimes regard it as a rite-of-passage endurance test. And some of our runners were racing in deadly earnest. At least 12 of our runners completed the course in less than 1 hour 40 minutes. No mean feet, you might say.

Mark Haverhand recorded 1 hour 19 minutes 43 seconds. This may well be the fastest time to date of any runner for MND. He tells us that thoughts of his father spurred him on to his personal best half marathon time. (Mark’s brother, Richard, was also running – his time was 1 hour 59 mins.)


Daniel Perry of 2Fingers2MND was next, with a time of 1.30, closely followed by Joe Hughes (1.32), Tom Reeves (1.33):

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then, Ross McGowan (1.34), Tim Charlton and Darren Hill (both 1.36):

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Hot on their heels were Paul Branley, Daniel Barratt, Matthew Buck, Jacob Sherratt and Allan Morrison, all with times under 1.40.

A long hard slog

For many runners, in contrast, simply getting round the course at all was an achievement way out of their normal existence. In a few of our roadside pictures runners look as though they are in a state of utter exhaustion.

As one runner from Suffolk put it, “the photos….I think they truly represent the effort I’d put in!! I’m not sure when I’ll be back to put myself through that again- it took me ten years from my previous attempt this time, but the welcome was as warm & the run was as hard and challenging. Perhaps by 2026 I’ll have convinced myself it’s a good idea.”

You have to be strongly motivated to put yourself through that sort of hell. We salute especially all those for whom the Run is their own personal Mount Everest.

Happily, there were also those who, not seeking to break any records, simply took it gently and treated the Run as a sociable afternoon stroll.


In all it was a great occasion, with lots of enjoyment as well as a mighty sense of satisfaction at a job well done. The party atmosphere was pervasive and for many likely to continue into the evening. There were probably some sore heads next morning as well as sore feet and aching legs.


Photographic credits:
~  roadside photos:  Ken Durose and Inga Sevastjanova
~  photos at the Finish:  Marian Dent and Susan Turnbull; reporter:  Susan Lamb

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