Running in the big crowd events - Marathon Running ...

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Running in the big crowd events

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon

Hmmm, so after doing the GNR on Sunday I seem to have developed a taste for running in front of crowds and in big fields (I know this isn't everyone cup of tea).

I am now looking at which one to do next and am considering the Manchester or Edinburgh runs in Spring next year.

I live in Newcastle so runs from the Midlands and south aren't really an option and I would say HM is my maximum distance.

Any more experienced runners on here have any advice?

24 Replies

Nah, not me. I like tiny,low key, local events, far from the madding crowd. So far, for my upcoming marathon, there are 21 runners 😃


I can't really help, I live in Brighton 😁

I do know there's a half marathon in Sheffield in April that is very popular - it's got a big hill in the middle, mind you!!

SqkrHalf Marathon

Haha, I had the exact opposite response! Too many people for my liking. I'm definitely signing up for tiny Reykjavik next year, and also considering a side step into hill running, where there are about three people watching 😂

Edinburgh is certainly pretty big in terms of crowds, I think they said 60,000 across all events this year, and although I'm looking at smaller things I'll do the HM next year because it's on my doorstep. The main EMF weekender one has a nice flat sort of route by the sea, but I think there are a couple of other events over the year too. Loch Ness has been well promoted this year but I'm not sure how big it is, I'd like to give that a go.

Food for thought though—I think all of the Great Runs are fairly well attended, and there is still space on the Great Scottish Run for the end of September! Go on...

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon

I would do the Scottish at the end of September but won't be budging from the sofa for 3 days as the Ryder Cup is on 😂😂

SqkrHalf Marathon in reply to ChrisAllen1

Ach, part-timer! 🤣


That sounds like a good plan to me... I admire you. I dont enjoy being amongst people, in crowds, or having shouty crowds, so I have been doing my own thing which is also perhaps a bit lazy!! I need to up my game...

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon in reply to ju-ju-

I dont think anyone could ever accuse you of being lazy!!

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon

I watched some car crash TV last night about celebrities living in solitary confinement for 5 days and it started off with asking when did you last spend some time truly alone? About an hour ago I thought, when I was pounding around the local lanes with just the fly-tipped crap for company.

Running in crowds, gulp. Can't say I'm a fan, sorry. Even parkrun gets me in a sweat (before I have started running).

I admire those of you who enjoy it. I must try harder.

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon in reply to Langley-Loper

I'm not saying I don't enjoy my long solo runs, I really do but want to mix it up with regular park runs and also bigger events.

WhatsappHalf Marathon

I saw that run last year and it inspired me to do a HM, as I thought how great it would be to go to all of these iconic cities around the country and even the world and run them; a wonderful way to really see the sites.

As a HM you have just done the biggest one there is. So everything else is going to be on a smaller scale. Plenty of HM options though.

TedGHalf Marathon

I won’t be doing the GNR again. Not to say I didn’t enjoy the occasion, the atmosphere was electric, it was the amount of runners taking part. I found myself moving this way then that, getting entangled with walkers etc. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm!

With hindsight, I should’ve told a porky re my projected time so as to get into the green zone maybe 😜

I’m glad I did it though and will have some fond memories 😊

On a positive note I absolutely loved Newcastle, the locals are so friendly and myself and Judy had a great weekend. 😎

I’m doing my local HM in Oxford in October which really is flat and an interesting route taking in the City landmarks.

Whatever you choose to do next Chris.... enjoy 🤗

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon in reply to TedG

Let me know how Oxford goes mate

TedGHalf Marathon in reply to ChrisAllen1

Will do Chris 😊

SqkrHalf Marathon in reply to TedG

I found the same with the white zone, so I'm not sure telling a porky would have helped!

I fear unless you're an elite/top zone runner you've no chance to really test yourself in a run of that size. I found it really curious that so many people were walking so early on, well before the Tyne Bridge, yet they must have had a reasonably speedy predicted time? Did they just not fancy running it? By the end it felt like I was battling constantly, with groups of walkers often taking up the whole width of the road, despite the fact I don't think I was particularly slow.

TedGHalf Marathon in reply to Sqkr

Indeed, I passed a guy with a white bib walking and gasping well before Tyne Bridge. I had to be a bit forceful trying to make some headway, pushing my way past walkers 😬

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon

I guess with a crowd that big it's more the experience rather than being able to run a normal time.


That was one of my observations watching it on TV. Sooo many people all having to run at a similar pace - as getting passed looked pretty challenging. It looked like an amazing event, but perhaps not one for pb’s.. there are loads of HMs around if you search online by region. eg runbritain

The Sheffield hm in April is a pretty big event with good crowd support. There is a big hill but it’s almost all downhill or flat in the second half. There’s some nice scenery too once you’re out of the city. I’ve done quite a few races now and on balance I’ve grown to prefer smaller local races over big events. I can still appreciate the buzz of doing a few big events though!


THE BIGGER THE BETTER!! - for me :) The biggest I have been in is the Sydney City to Surf 14K - around 80,000 starters. But the local big event on the Queensland Gold Coast is the gold Coast Marathon with 10,000 in the HM and 7500 in the full marathon. I have done the HM there. I can run by myself anytime !! :)


I ran the Toronto HM and liked it. I thought that was a big race with around 12,000 runners, but I am told the upcoming Toronto waterfront race is much larger with around 24,000 people, so we’ll see how that feels. :)

TbaeMetric Marathon

Thanks for posting this Chris.

Great for you and well done.

Never taken part.

Bye, bye 2019 GNR.🤔🙈😂



There are some races in the gorgeous Bamburgh area. Is part of the Northumberland coastal series? Some runners from where I live do it every year Lovely part of the world, and near you. There’s the opposite coast to you and Lancs too. Plenty of racing there 🙂👍

ChrisAllen1Half Marathon

So I am going to really mix my running up, either 1 or 2 solo runs midweek, as many different North East park runs as I can get around, hopefully a "smaller" 10k or HM each month and some big crowd races in 2019 (Great Manchester HM, Great Scottish Run, GNR and Great North 10k).

Variety is the spice of life!!!


Hey well done on the GNR :) It was my first time at the GNR too. I've done 2 other HM races, the Manchester Half marathon is on next month (october) and is pretty big (~13,000 compared to GNR 48,000), I did it last year also and was my first HM race. Then I am doing the Run Bolton Abbey HM in November, that isn't big but it is a beautiful and hilly course :)

There is also the Great Manchester HM and 10k in April, that was my 1st ever race (the 10k) and I do the 10k, the HM starts at 9 AM and 10k around 2pm, I believe both are really well supported, I can vouch for the 10k and here is a quote from Wikipedia about the 10k "Usually held in mid-May, it is the third-largest mass participation running event in the United Kingdom,[2] behind the Great North Run and the London Marathon".

All the best :)

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