This year's Silver Commander, Chief Inspector Dave Pickett, offers advice to runners, spectators and residents ahead of the flagship event
Northumbria Police are set to welcome tens of thousands of runners to the region as policing plans are finalised ahead of the Simplyhealth Great North Run 2019.
The world’s biggest half-marathon returns to the North East on Sunday (September 8) with more than 57,000 competitors set to pound the pavements between Newcastle and South Shields.
The iconic Simplyhealth Great North 5K, Simplyhealth Mini and Junior Great North Run are to be staged 24 hours earlier with a feel-good atmosphere expected on the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides.
Police have been working closely with event organisers, local authorities, Nexus and other blue light partners over a number of months to ensure the safety of competitors, spectators and residents across the weekend.
Chief Inspector Dave Pickett, of Northumbria Police, is the Silver Commander for this year’s Great North Run events and is looking forward to welcoming people to the region from all over the globe.
“We are once again incredibly proud to play a part in the Great North Run, which is one of the North East’s most-loved annual events in the calendar,” Ch Insp Pickett said.
“The Great North Run is a great spectacle for the region. It attracts tens of thousands of competitors and spectators and gains both national and international attention. I’ve worked the Great North Run in previous years and I do so again this year with a real sense of pride - it is a privilege to be part of it.
“Many of our officers and staff will be running the race, while we will have officers on duty along the route to engage with the public and assist with any concerns or questions runners or spectators may have.
“Public safety is of utmost importance and we have been working closely with the organisers and partners to ensure appropriate measures are in place.
“Armed and unarmed officers will be on duty, as has been the case at a host of events across the region in recent years, and they are there to offer reassurance to the public.
“We are expecting Newcastle city centre, South Shields and all roads in between to be extremely busy across the weekend, and we have been working closely with local transport providers to ensure all public transport runs as smoothly and with as little disruption as possible.
“My message to the public is clear; have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the fantastic atmosphere that the Great North Run always brings to the region, and please stay safe – anyone with any concerns is encouraged to speak to an officer or one of the Great North Run marshals.”
Those attending Sunday’s event are advised to use public transport wherever possible, with an enhanced Metro service and the Shields Ferry to both be in operation throughout the day.
Limited parking will be available at the finish line, and those planning to use their cars are asked to remain patient and listen to advice given by Great North Run marshals. Up-to-date information will be shared on the Northumbria Police and Great Run Company’s social media channels.
Competitors and their families are asked to make note of the pre-arranged meeting points in case they become lost or lose someone. Great North Run marshals will be on hand alongside police officers, community support officers and cadets to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Nigel Gough, Operations Director at the Great Run Company said, “We’re happy to be working closely once more with officers from Northumbria Police and all our local emergency service providers.
“They will be an important part of the team, ensuring everyone has a safe and happy run at the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday, as well as assisting with events on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside on Saturday.”
More information about travelling by Metro is available on the NEXUS website which you can view by visiting: https://www.nexus.org.uk/metro/greatnorthrun.
For further information about the race itself, road closures and viewing points then visit the Great Run Company website at: http://www.greatrun.org/great-north-run.