Great North Dog Walk challenge
I know, I mentioned exactly the same thing last year, I emailed Tony Carlisle but he failed to respond to my questions, and yesterday’s Great North Dog Walk held on The Leas, South Shields may have set yet another new record to be inscribed into the Guinness book.
Thing is, I have all sorts of questions about this so called “record breaker”, but lets have another look at the numbers again. According to The Shields Gazette:
The 3.5-mile Great North Dog Walk attracts up to 30,000 visitors to South Tyneside each year, and holds 15 Guinness world records for participation. Last year, more than 18,000 dogs including 178 different breeds took part.
Since it started in 1990, it has raised £4.2m for good causes.
And so yesterday, from what I hear, they were hoping to break that record again. So once more we ought to be examining the mathematics and posing more questions.
The picture above is not in any way a representation of yesterday’s event, it is just a factual view of one single moment at just after 2:00 pm, however it did indicate that after four hours the event had all but finished, tents were being taken down, fences were being removed, RSPCA volunteers were taking a rest, vans were being loaded, you get the picture.
Which means that if last year’s record was remarkably beaten again, then an average of 4,500 dogs per hour had moved past the point that you see in my picture; because this is a family event you often see pairs of dog walkers, or even threes and fours, now that would mean about 38000 humans took part. 38000 would fill The Bents Park twice over! Now, my own eyes, and those of the APCOA Civil Enforcement Officers witnessed that a great many of them arrived by car, they certainly didn’t all walk to The Leas, and if only 25% of the dogs arrived by car then where did the 4500 cars park? They certainly didn’t, indeed could not, park alongside The Leas because from Gypsies Green Stadium to the Redwell Bank roundabout there is only room for about 250 vehicles. Where would the other 4000 odd park? Not on the Dragon, it was virtually empty.
Also, if each dog lapped up around half a litre of water during and after the walk, they would consume the contents of some 4500 two litre bottles of water, that’s a lot of pallets and a lot of dog bowls, yet behind the finish line I counted only around 50 bowls.
I missed the start of the event so I cannot truthfully tell how many thousands were lined up ready to go, but remembering last year I found it difficult to believe that there might have been thousands behind the start line, hundreds would have been a better estimation from what my own eyes saw. Yet still I continue to find it very difficult to believe that now around 4500 dogs per hour walk around the course.
So, considering that South Tyneside Council is now one of the major sponsors of the event I think we are entitled to ask some questions to validate that it is indeed a major event worthy of tax payer support.
- How do the organisers confirm how many dogs take part on the day?
- Is there any involvement by any official from Guinness World Records Ltd on the day, and on site, to validate the “world record” claim?
- How much does the event cost to organise and run?
- How much sponsorship is raised and from whom?
- How much money is raised for charities and which charities benefit?
- Are any accounts published, and where can the public read them?
I’m sorry that I find these numbers challenging, they just don’t match with what my eyes see, were you there yesterday? Am I going slightly barmy about it?