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Posts Tagged ‘Great North Run

South Shields and the Great North Run

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Red Arrows at the Great North RunGreat news (for photographers) – Red Arrows will fly

Readers will be very aware that I’m a keen photographer and never miss many chances to promote South Shields and the north east of England with my images, particularly through my main photoblog South Shields Daily Pictures. The Great North Run with its 50000 entrants jogging down the 13.1 miles from Newcastle each year is one of those events that really has helped to put South Shields on the map with great TV coverage from the BBC and massive news coverage in the media over the Sunday and Monday each year. So it was with some concern that I viewed the possibility that the RAF Red Arrows might not have been able to fly at the event this year following the investigation into the tragic death of Flight Lieutenant Jon Egging who was killed at an air show in Dorset last month. However those fears have been allayed with the announcement that the famous Hawk trainer display team will complete all of their remaining engagements this year and will fly over the Tyne Bridge in the eight plane “missing man” formation, I am still unclear whether or not they will fly a full formation over South Shields as it is reported that the Red Arrows ground commander, Red 10 – also known as Graeme Bagnell – will be running the race himself, adding an extra poignancy to the display. The Red Arrows are expected above the finishing line in South Shields at 13:15 Sunday 18th. September.

Having seen the huge Great North Run village being steadily erected on The Leas over the past ten days, and the wreckage wrought by the remnants of hurricane Katia , it is indeed good news that the event will have its usual shape and compliment of attractions. As normal, hundreds of competitors will camp in South Shields over the weekend utilising the two caravan parks and the Bents Park, and many will also be staying in our few hotels and many guest houses, such a shame that we didn’t have sufficient facilities for many more of them to enjoy a full weekend here. The visiting competitors from around the UK create themselves a good party atmosphere from Friday afternoon through to Sunday evening, and for amateur photographers South Shields offers exceptional opportunities to add to your portfolio with celebrities, internationally known athletes, TV personalities, and the RAF Red Arrows all waiting to be snapped.

My best hints and tips include staying away from the finish line unless you are really familiar with the local layout, you will only get a few seconds worth of chances to photograph the winners, and find a way in to the inner part of the course before the runners reach South Shields. Getting around on the inside of the course is relatively easy with a few good positions granting ease of access for photographers. Try these to capture both the leading runners and/or the massed fun runners:

  • Roundabout at the junction of John Reid Road (A1300) and Newcastle Road (A194)
  • Roundabout at junction of John Reid Road and   Winskell Road
  • Roundabout at junction of John Reid Road and Boldon Lane
  • Junction of John Reid Road and McAnany Avenue
  • Roundabout at junction of John Reid Road and King George Road (A1018)
  • Roundabout at junction of Prince Edward Road and Sunderland Road – Harton Nook
  • Roundabout at junction of Prince Edward Road and Marsden Lane (B1301) – Marsden Inn
  • Foot of Redwell Lane at junction with Coast Road (A183)
  • Blackberry Hills (accessed from Hertford Avenue at rear of Lincoln Road), please park considerately here it is residential.

From these locations, easily travelled by bicycle or car, you will get plenty of colour fill shots, good crowd shots, and excellent chances to get close to the athletes as they near the finish, you will also find other entertainment and side shows to fill your memory cards with, I’d suggest taking at least 2 X 2 Gb memory cards as you will fire a lot of frames.

Best positions for shooting the Red Arrows include Blackberry Hills (where I took the above shot from in 2009), or if you are on the “outside” of the course, Souter Lighthouse makes a great backdrop and gives a good chance to combine the Red Arrows with the piers at the mouth of the Tyne. Other good spots, particularly if you have a DSLR and a long lens, include the south pier looking towards Trow Rocks, top of the South Marine Park to catch the planes over the piers, and the top of the North Marine Park.

Some other hints and tips – look for the unusual, especially amongst the spectators and fans. Try and capture the whole feel of the environment, this is as much about feet and legs as it is about celebs, besides they pass so fast you might miss them! If you are using either a compact or a DSLR set your camera on aperture priority at around f16 and try and get some slower shutter speeds to introduce some motion blur to your shots, and if the weather happens to be bright and sunny remember to take a neutral density filter to cut down the light. Otherwise, set your camera to shutter priority mode at around 1/500th second or faster to freeze the action, or use a sports mode if you have one. Get your camera down to ground level now and then to capture a wider vista of massed runners on the road. If you are going to get down at the finish line don’t stop shooting just because the Red Arrows have finished their display, there are loads of opportunities to capture families reuniting with runners, tired and aching athletes and the elated looks of those with their T shirts and medals.

After the event be aware that there will be transport difficulties as thousands of competitors and visitors make their way out of the town, another good reason for hanging back and getting those extra valuable shots that tell the whole story. Be patient and don’t be in too much of a hurry to get back to your PC to process the pictures, and once you do make a start, don’t be afraid to try a few in black and white, it conveys the mood and the story possibly even better than colour.

If you are coming to South Shields for the Great North Run have a great entertaining time, be safe, and make the most of it, hope you all return again soon.

You can see my 2009 series of pictures starting from here, just keep clicking on the right hand arrow to move forward.

Happy shooting everyone!

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Written by curly

September 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

I think a big “well done” is in order

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Jumping for joy

Tories celebrate Karen Allen's safe two hour run

2009 Great North Run best ever says Brendan Foster

Felt like the best year ever as an outsider and spectator, I managed to fire off about 200 frames around the South Shields part of the course and I am never tired of seeing how magnificently the whole event is organised. With over 54000 runners and their attendant family and friends visiting the town there is one one huge logistical operation going on behind the scenes to make sure the event goes smoothly and safely, and needless to say that by this morning South Shields looks and feels as ordinary as possible after yesterday’s media attention.

It is true, the eyes of the world are upon us as the BBC streams it’s output around the UK and elsewhere, but how often do we hear about the army of organisers, bus drivers, metro drivers, road sweepers and litter collectors, volunteer bands and first aid attendants, stewards, and policemen and women putting in the extra effort?

No, we tend to think about the runners only, or the Red Arrows, who I must say provided an outstanding display yesterday in what must have been perfect weather for them, yet we hardly mention the nameless ones who make the whole event go off with a bang. So I think a big “well done” and “thank you” is in order for the folks at Nova International and South Tyneside Council who manage to keep up with the growth of the world’s biggest half marathon and leave our town looking pretty damned good the day after.

If you are looking for pictures, I’ll publish a few in South Shields Daily Photo this week, and a few more in South Shields Daily Pictures next week.

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Written by curly

September 21, 2009 at 10:23 am

Great North Run 2008

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Gete Wami
South Shields packed to the rafters!

An unbelievable amount of people turned out on the streets of South Shields this morning to welcome a record number of runners in the 2008 Great North Run. The event took place on a cool morning in bright sunshine, just perfect for the half marathon from Newcastle.

I was out and about nice and early to savour the atmosphere with the hundreds of volunteer workers in the charity village set up on The Leas behind the finishing points, and to see the areas set aside for the 52,000 runners to recuperate with massages, refreshments, and to meet waiting family members.

The elite women’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Gete Wami who had a thrilling neck and neck sprint finish with Great Britain’s Jo Pavey who eventually finished in third place having lost the battle just a few feet from the finishing line. Despite the size of the crowds at the finishing area and around the Bamburgh the real atmosphere and noise was coming from farther up the Coast Road, as many of those that I spoke to had arrived in South Shields from all over the country to support family and friends who were taking part.

Another Ethiopian Tsegay Kebede won the elite man’s race in a cracking time, and it turns out that he is the shortest man in the history of the race to win it. There were loads of celebrities entered but I didn’t get to see any of them, but if they were looking for support and encouragement they wouldn’t find it difficult with the crowds at the Nook and the Marsden Inn making the most noise in South Shields.

I missed the Red Arrows this year, well I heard and saw them from my living room window, but I was hungry by then and the camera had been put away. A quick trip to Asda this afternoon showed the amount of human traffic as a great tide of people was moving up Ocean Road to the Metro Station in King Street, unfortunately there were hardly any shops open for them to get refreshment or spend any money (but I guess they don’t carry much on a 13.5 mile run.)

Here are some pictures that I captured at the finish line – click the thumbnails to enlarge. More pictures will be available in South Shields Daily Photo during the course of the next week.

Tsegay Kebedejo PaveyTsegay Kebede

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Written by curly

October 5, 2008 at 5:02 pm