Great North Run 2023 Race Report



First Male: TAMIRAT TOLA 00:59:58

First Female: PERES JEPCHIRCHIR 01:06:45


Alex Hill




Matt Newman




Ross Woods




Mark Godsalve




Rob Hill




Thomas Hill




Paul Kromm




(apologies if I have missed anyone!)

Oh, and Sir Mo came fourth.


The weekend saw seven Harriers headed up the A1 for the 2023 iteration of the Great North Run Half Marathon. Expectations were high in the Hill household with all three ‘Hill Harriers’ taking part, however the weather gods would play us all some rather dubious cards!

For those that haven’t run the GNR before, it starts in Jesmond on a six lane motorway, heads down to the Tyne, over the Tyne Bridge, out through Gateshead and finishes up at South Shields on the coast. I would struggle to call it scenic in any normal way – in fact the route is pretty average, notable for passing MacDonald’s, Screwfix and a few Aldi’s. But almost the entire route is lined with well-wishers, bands, cheering stations and the like that make for a fantastic atmosphere.

Along with Sir Mo, there are 60,000 odd runners of all shapes and sizes. This makes the start, the run and the finish a little busy. While the mass start was at 11am, those slower runners starting in the rear waves didn’t cross the start line until 12:30 or later.

Back to the weather gods (part 1): as with the other weekend race reports, it was hot. Very hot. And standing around on a 28°C shade free motorway for a couple of hours pre-run isn’t conducive to a good hydration strategy.

Up ahead, Alex was first Harrier home, closely followed by Matt, Ross and Mark. Given the heat, great times.

For Thomas and I the race itself was great, if slower than hoped, but the crowds are fantastic, handing out everything from ice lollies, jelly babies and beer and loads of encouragement. We lost each other around half way, about the same time that the going got tough. My wheels come off around 10 miles in, but I managed to stay just ahead of Thomas. Ross completed the Harrier runners.

What wasn’t so great were the number of runners succumbing to the heat. The first aiders and paramedics were very busy, and it was a little upsetting to witness fellow runners in real distress.

Needless to say, the finishing area is very busy with 60,000 runners plus family and friends descending on South Shields. And this is where the weather gods played their joker. As we were waiting on those runners who started from the later waves to finish, a sudden thunder storm rolled in unleashing a biblical deluge. Que pandemonium with everyone trying to get home asap!

The deluge caused multiple road closures, the Metro flooded then closed down and the whole area became gridlocked. It then became a mission to get back to Newcastle. You can find a good write up on the BBC News website.

In the second race of the day (well the extended Hill contingent anyway), Alex decided that the bus was too slow and ran the 9 miles back to Newcastle (about 2 hours). He beat those of us who remained on the bus (about 3 hours). My wife took the ferry and Metro from North Shields (4 hours). And bringing up the rear was my nephew and girlfriend in an Uber (4 hours 30). Thousands had to walk back.

However, overall an epic day and one that I will long remember.

Would I recommend the GNR? Yes, but you might want to make a pre-run offering to the weather gods!

Rob Hill