Great Eastern Run organisers promise and bigger and better event in future after teething problems in 2022

The start of the fun run.The start of the fun run.
The start of the fun run.
Good Running Events organised the Great Eastern Run for the first time in 2022 after taking over from Peterborough City Council.

Good Running Events has promised to make the Great Eastern Run a bigger and better event from 2023 onwards after there were some hurdles for organisers to overcome on the event’s return.

The prestigious event returned to the city for the first time since 2019 on Sunday (October 16)- with the half marathon not having been run since 2018 due to a security alert.

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In total, over 2700 runners took part, with 475 running the Anna’s Hope 5k fun run and 2304 taking on the half marathon.

The ambulance after running over the timing pads on the start/finish line.The ambulance after running over the timing pads on the start/finish line.
The ambulance after running over the timing pads on the start/finish line.

Participants and spectators were treated to pleasant weather conditions but there was frustration as the starts to both the fun run (around 30 minutes) and the main race (around an hour) were delayed.

This is believed to be due to a lack of stewards as well as an incident, before the start of the main race, where an ambulance drove onto the course- damaging the electronic timing mats that had been laid.

A number of runners also raised concerns about their GPS watches measuring their distance covered as too short by around 200m- with a misplaced cone on Bishop’s Road suspected to be the cause.

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A GRE spokesperson said: “We were delighted to be able to bring the Great Eastern Run back to Peterborough, and were so pleased that everyone had a fantastic day achieving their running goals and new PBs - along with the hundreds of thousands of pounds that this event raises for local charities including Anna's Hope, Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, and Little Miracles.

Main run finishers.Main run finishers.
Main run finishers.

"We thank everyone for their patience at the start while we resolved the issue and recognise the disruption caused by an emergency vehicle damaging the race timing equipment and having to ensure that an appropriate replacement was put in place, and tested appropriately before we were able to begin the event - ensuring we could deliver on delivering a safe event of runners being tracked once started, and finished, as well as fulfilling commitments made to runners of full chip timings.”

“We are looking forward to planning and bringing a bigger event back to Peterborough in 2023.”

The technology that was damaged by the ambulance was worth around £15k but fortunately for Total Race Timing, only a small £5 cable was damaged beyond repair.

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Speaking about the problems, Peterborough and Nene Valley AC’s Phil Martin explained: “When I arrived we were told the race may start on time at 10:30am or there could be a 15-minute delay.

“Obviously that vagueness isn’t great when having to warm up and take on board nutrition etc. This continued throughout with us receiving little to no feedback as to if and when we would actually start. I just don’t think any consideration was given to runners.

“We were put in pens at 10.20am then not allowed out, being spoken to like children by some marshalls. Some of the elite runners were on the verge of withdrawing from the race after being kept standing around for so long.

"On the plus side, the race was epic and I’ve never experienced such support before. The course definitely has PB potential and the Peterborough public offered great support. This could be a really good event attracting a strong domestic field and giving the city the race it deserves.

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Ladies winner Nina Griffiths added: "It was a great flat course with very good support. I really enjoyed myself."

The new start/finish line close to central park, rather than on the Embankment, proved popular with the athletes but it did mean closing off a number of roads in the city centre.

Werrington ward councillor John Fox said: “The GER is a fantastic event with a good reputation and, as a runner at heart, I want to see it do well.

"The organisers just need to sort out these teething problems- which I am sure they will.

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"You can’t close a main arterial road such as Bourges Boulevard for all of that time- all of the car parking areas were blocked off and people with passes couldn’t get through.

"I also don’t see why people in Werrington were not being allowed through barriers at half nine, when the first runners weren’t expected through until at least an hour and a half. I would have liked to have seen a little more common sense used.

“I have every confidence the organisers will find a way to improve things. Personally, I believe the start should be in the city centre, to encourage people to walk into the city centre and visit all of the businesses there.”

The 2023 Great Eastern Run is scheduled to take place on October 15 next year.