Fifty six thousand people took part in the Bupa Great North Run last weekend, and the JustTextGiving team were there to capture every moment.

Bupa Great North Run: Race Report

With 56,000 people taking part in the Bupa Great North Run up in Gateshead, Newcastle, this weekend was one of the biggest in the charity calendar, and it’s been a busy few days for our JustTextGiving team, who were there to cover every mile.

The North Vs South fundraising challenge, the Fittest Fundraisers and JustTextGiving itself all played a massive part raising money for thousands of charities over the weekend, and we’ve been following the action every step of the way.

The festivities kicked off on the Saturday with the Mini and Junior Great North Run as 5,000 under 16s took to the streets, covering either 1.5 or 5 kilometres, fundraising for their own personal causes or the official race charity Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.

To help boost their fundraising, many ran with bibs on their backs, showing off their JustTextGiving codes and making it easy for spectators lining the streets to sponsor them with a simple text message as they ran by.

At the start line

The all-day Pasta Party and City Games were taking place further up town on Friday, and Great North Runners, keen to stock up on carbs ahead of the race, mingled with the youngsters fresh off the course. It gave them the opportunity to claim their free bowl of pasta and watch the stellar line up of athletes competing on the track erected along the quayside.

The JustTextGiving team spent their day talking to text fundraisers and helping them promote their causes. With a big increase in text donations in the days before a race, they gave runners an opportunity to get their codes out there and and raise as much as possible.

“We decided to help all the JustTextGiving runners raise more by creating bespoke photographs with their codes displayed, ideal for sharing on all their social networks,” says JustTextGiving planning manager Isobel Kenyon.

“We had so many fundraisers visit the stand over the day. They all had a story to tell and a charity they cared about. It was inspiring to hear so many stories.” And as an extra bonus, all active JustTextGiving runners were entered into a prize draw to receive a £50 donation to their charity.

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A famous captain for Team North

Former Spice Girl Melanie C dropped by the JustTextGiving stand for her individual photograph, and as part of the North Vs South Challenge, Mel also met up with her Team North Fundraising team ahead of race day. The star was running in aid of Shelter, and has already raised over £1,100 to support their work. It’s easy to text a donation to Mel and Shelter – have a look below.

Mel C's Just Text Giving code

The North Vs South challenge is all about who can raise more for charity using JustTextGiving: Team North or Team South. Team North, captained by Mel C is running the Great North Run, with Team South – captained by Olympian Iwan Thomas – taking on the Great South Run.

The fact Mel and Iwan are great friends has only increased their competitive rivalry, and both are determined to take victory. So far, Team North has raised nearly £12,000 more for its charities than Team South, but with the Great South Run still over a month away it’s all to play for. Watch this space as the battle heats up.

Time for race day

Sunday dawned grey and wet amidst threats of gale force winds and storms. Runners were wrapped in bin bags and foil blankets trying to keep warm at the start line but the weather couldn’t dampen their enthusiasm. The wheelchair racers were first to start, swiftly followed by the elite female athletes and then the elite men.

It was a field full of famous names – David Weir, Tirunesh Dibaba, Kenenisa Bekele and Britain’s Mo Farah to name a few – and it’s difficult to imagine a more exciting race. The finish of the men’s event saw Farah put in a herculean effort to catch Ethiopian Bekele before the ribbon: it wasn’t to be, but the excitement and his wonderful sportsmanship certainly confirmed his place as a national treasure.

Mel C and her team, Iwan and Vodafone’s JustTextGiving Fittest Fundraisers were further back in the field, but no less enthusiastic. The three JustTextGiving Fittest Fundraisers – Grant, Sophie and Dan – are running every race in the Great Run series this year, making a huge commitment they hope to see reflected in both their times and their fundraising totals. All three started the race with a definite race plan and target time.

Grant could be forgiven for being a bit distracted as he was grabbed for an interview with the BBC’s Colin Jackson on his way to the start line. As it was, all three kept their heads and ran the half marathon of their lives, each one achieving a personal best time.

Fittest Fundraisers after the race

The day ended in South Shields as thousands of tired but triumphant runners crossed the finish line. Over £4m had been raised for charity by fundraisers before the weekend even started, and the total is likely to rise by another million before the final numbers are totted up.

For the JustTextGiving team it was a chance to enjoy the atmosphere at this legendary event, and the opportunity to see thousands of fundraisers making an immense effort to raise money for the charities they care about. A huge congratulations to everyone who took part; we hope you enjoyed it as much as Vodafone’s JustTextGiving team did.