'A huge blow to South Shields' - Backing for pub seeing bookings cancelled after Great North Run route change
The impact of moving the Great North Run’s finish line out of South Shields for 2021 will be felt by businesses across South Tyneside.
That’s the message from Shields Gazette readers, who have criticised the decision for this year’s staging of the famous half marathon to start and finish in Newcastle.
The move – announced last week – was made to help give runners and spectators more space both at the event and on public transport as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
It will be the first time in the race’s 40-year history that the finish line has not been in South Shields
Paul Foster, chief executive of the Great Run Company, explained that the route change, which is for 2021 only, will help to secure the future of the GNR, which raises money for hundreds of charities each year.
He also apologised for the impact on South Tyneside this September.
In a letter to runners, Mr Foster said: “Moving the finish to Newcastle means runners disperse from the finish much more easily – from the middle of the transport network, rather than the end.
"The staggered start means runners are arriving and leaving over several hours, not all at the same time.”
Landlord Michael Ward, of South Shields pub the Marsden Inn, spoke about the impact on his business after seeing room bookings made last year cancelled.
His pub will also suffer the loss of extra sales, while staff will lose out on additional hours, he said.
Gazette readers shared their disappointment for the borough’s businesses.
This is what you said on the Shields Gazette Facebook page:
Steve Lamb: “It would be interesting to see the amount of expenditure saved by not having to pay for the additional services normally borne by hosting the finish.
"If it’s significant can this funding be redirected to support businesses?”
Julie Gibson Pascoe: “I can't believe how much local hospitality will lose out. All the BnBs, pubs and restaurants who have strived to put measures in place to keep people safe, at a cost to their business which they probably can ill afford.”
Kevin Friedl: “Terrible decision and a huge blow to South Shields and its businesses. The best part of the run is down the bank and onto the coast!”
Ray Palmer: “After seeing Wembley and Wimbledon, there is no logical reason for that decision.”
Katharine Anne Craggs: “These pubs have a living to make.”
Beverley Scott: “Absolutely disgusting it’s not finishing in Shields, all those small businesses and pubs.”
Tracy Pino: “It's not the Great North Run then is it. Its just a run around Newcastle.”
Ron Snaith: “Sorry for this awful situation to all South Shields venues. Good luck.”
Dwellcome Home South Tyneside: “As providers of self catering apartments and townhouses in South Shields, we are also one of the businesses adversely affected by this decision but like always we will try to take the positives out of the situation.
"The cancellations will free our calendars up to hopefully take some longer-term bookings.”