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Great North Dog Walk 2012

with 15 comments

South Shields hosts another “record breaker!”

This is becoming a bad joke, little more than a publicity stunt, even CBBC cameras and crews were in attendance as the Great North Dog Walk organised by Tony Carlisle set about bursting the Guinness World Record once again. Am I the only one in South Tyneside who finds the figures rather less than credible? Am I the only one in South Shields asking the right questions at the wrong time?

I’d like to know just why these numbers are apparently going up and up year after year, yet the event looks only a little larger to me, and the crowds and tents have all dispersed by late afternoon. I was down on the Leas this morning to photograph the start of the Great North Dog Walk 2012 which now claims to have more dogs taking part than the first Great North Runs organised by Brendan Foster, yet I parked easily behind the Bamburgh, as far as I am aware there were no extra Metros or buses today, there were no road closures at all, and nobody to police such a huge gathering, no safety stewards or metal barriers. The start line did not stretch  a mile and a half and the first participants passed by my camera in little more than twenty minutes. I’d like to know if anyone either in South Tyneside Council or close to Mr. Carlisle has any interest in trying to answer the questions that I have posed in previous years.

I guess someone thinks that the publicity factor is good to have at the start of summer, it puts South Shields on the map and makes a news story for a few outlets which lasts for a couple of days and if all of the money that is claimed to be raised is going to good local causes then hip hip hooray!

However I estimated that around 3000 dogs at most walked by in that first hour, and so to realise figures of over 24000 would need that rate of participation to be sustained until at least 6:00 pm and clearly it was not, do we really need to be accepting these claims without scrutiny?

The questions that I posed last year:

  • 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?

A comment left last year by Steve G:

Curly, originally, was querying whether the reportage of the Great North Dog Walk was accurate.
The claims made suggest there were over 22700 dogs on the Leas on Sunday over a three or four hour period.
This equates to 5600 dogs on the Leas at any given hour.
For the sake of argument there is one dog owner with each dog.
Curly is simply pointing out that given the amount traffic this mass attendance would create – are the claims made in the Gazette true?
Bearing in when I was jogging, a few years ago now, the figures for people running the Great North Run was around the 18000 figure – less than the dog walk. This involved road closures along the Leas, additional public transport, police attendance, stewarding etc.
The Great North Dog Walk should have been decidedly noticeable and quite frankly it was not. Not this year, not last year or previous years.
The video of last year on the Great North Dog Walk (on the website) does not appear to show the crowds that 16000 or so dogs would require last year.
If the number of dogs attending is exaggerated, then logically, so is the amount raised for charity. How can this sum be checked? It is only an estimate. Though £45 per dog per walk, since inception, seems achievable.

The Guinness Book of World Records website gives no indication of how the numbers involved are validated. In fact in the 2010 video neither the owners nor the dogs appeared to be allocated numbers as per the Great North Run. As the picture in tonight’s (14th. June 2011) Gazette confirms – how are the numbers checked and entrance fees collected?

Does this event show the borough in a positive and record breaking way?
Well, it was not reported in the Sunderland Echo, nor the Evening Chronicle – I did not check the Journal. So only we know about it!!

I am not concerned over the relatively small amount this event received from the council, what I am concerned about is that there appears to be little or no accountability regarding this small and many other larger amounts distributed by our council.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.

Also, I am getting tired of the Gazettes inaccurate reporting or rather the reprinting of other peoples press releases. But that is another issue in itself.

I hope my pictures show that these numbers require answers to the questions, they were all shot between 10:00 and 11:00 am this morning.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A great day out for families and pooches, Deputy Mayor Ernie Gibson showed true bulldog spirit manfully and doggedly reading through his speech as the wind tried to whippet away, but you’d have to be pretty barking to believe that this is a Great North Run sized event which one day may end up spilling egg on our chins with some explaining to do!


This picture shows a small section of the crowd at the start line of the 1982 Great North Run when 20000 people competed, call me hard to please if you wish, but I’m not convinced that we saw anything like these numbers at the Great North Dog Walk.

Great North Run 1982

Here is a section of the crowd at the Great North Dog walk

Great North Dog Walk

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Written by curly

June 10, 2012 at 3:42 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Read this (I’m sure I suggested this to you last year.)

    Do you harbour a personal grudge against the organiser? It would certainly explain the petty attitude towards a popular, well attended and fully ratified Guinness World Record. Not forgetting the amount of funds this event raises for charity.

    Neil Newton

    June 11, 2012 at 8:59 am

    • Not in the least, I don’t know him at all. I only have an interest in the truth being told and ensuring that the facts are not embellished to the point that they become unbelievable and pose a risk to the future of the event and those who enjoy it.


      June 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      • You wrote an article questioning the facts and figures last year though and you’ve had plenty of time to determine the validity, authenticity of this event’s credibility, yet still you’re whining about it and asking the same questions 12 months later. It took me less than a minute to find out the process for claiming a world record, either shit or get off the pot man.

        Neil Newton

        June 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      • Neil, finding answers to those questions above has not been easy, and it is not for the want of trying. I have contacted a number of people including the organiser and Guinness World Records, they have had twelve months to provide answers. Unfortunately none have responded to my emails or attempted to answer the questions which I posed. Thanks for the link that you provided which confirms that a world record can be claimed without a representative of Guinness World Records being present, I find both of these matters to be concerning, don’t you?


        June 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      • So, you’re not only questioning the validity of the organiser but also the validity of Guinness Book of Records and it’s researchers then? Curly, If something were amiss, I’m sure it would’ve come to light at some point during the past 16 out of the last 17 years that it has held the world record. I’m also sure that Guinness World Records are very protective over their globally renowned status and would strive to ensure that record attempts are validated, by ensuring prospective record breakers adhere to stringent evidential criteria, backed up by G.B.R’s own research into the claim. To answer your question, does it concern me? No, not really and if something as relatively trivial as a record breaking dog walk causes you sleepless nights, then I salute you for being so lucky to have so little to stress over.

        Neil Newton

        June 11, 2012 at 11:12 pm

  2. I took part in this and found the event really enjoyable, i also raised over £200 for charity. Why the need to complain? If you were there you would have seen wht a success the event was. All the information you ask is in the pack you get when you register online, the dog walker selects the charity you donate too.

    I love this event and cant wait to raise more money next year”!

    natalie robinson

    June 11, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • I think my pictures show that I was indeed there, and any search of this and my other sites will prove that I have attended on a few occasions, I too enjoy it and praise the efforts of those who raise money for various charities. My major concern is that the numbers do not appear to add up. Let’s face it, if 24000 competitors lined up for the start of the Great North Run the queue is one and a half miles long. If 24000 dogs and their owners formed up at the start of this event they would stretch back to the fairground! I know, they don’t all start at the same time, but to achieve these sorts of numbers would require an average of 4000 dogs passing the start line every hour for six solid hours. Can you honestly say that happened on Sunday?


      June 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

  3. Curly the numbers just have to be massively exaggerated, the event only lasts around 5 hours, so any more than 20000 dogs and 20000 owners equates to around 8000 bodies an hour on the Leas, and some dogs bring two or even three people with them.
    Come on, the last time you saw that many people on the Leas was at the end of the GNR, not this event.

    Bill Payer

    June 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

  4. Oh and another thing, where did they park all of the cars?
    The Dragon was empty.

    Bill Payer

    June 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm

  5. I’m with Curly on this one. Never heard so much nonsense. Another example of the masses swallowing everything they get from “mainstream” media spin doctors.

    David Potts

    June 12, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    • That from a man who does a fair bit of Shane Warneing on his twitter site at times.

      Sear's Crossing

      June 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

  6. I noticed that the Gazette printed a number followed by the word “estimate”. ???????

    Mr Micawber

    June 13, 2012 at 8:23 am

  7. 75 million people take part in the great north dog walk , as for the number of dogs, i would guess around 60 or so

    the spaniel

    July 15, 2012 at 11:18 am

  8. What i am concerned about is why on earth wear a t-shirt with your name on . Pathetic creepy man

    the spaniel

    July 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    • Funnily enough since I made this post I have emailed a number of questions to Guinness World Records and guess what? They have not bothered to reply!


      July 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm

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