South Shields parkrun review

So I’m continuing on with the parkrun reviews (check out more reviews HERE). I’m very grateful for people having sent me reviews as there are obviously so many that I wouldn’t be able to get to (and would likely only visit once so wouldn’t have as thorough a view of it as someone who’s been more often). So thank you once again to Michelle for providing this great review of South Shields parkrun.

Photo credit: Facebook page

Location: South Shields parkrun takes place along the coast at The Leas, South Shields about 13 miles east of Newcastle and 8 miles north of Sunderland. You might have heard of South Shields before and have probably seen it on the TV as it’s where the Great North Run finishes! In fact, the last mile of South Shields parkrun is the same as the last mile of the Great North Run! It is slightly outside South Shields town centre but close to a park with play area and a short coastal walk from Souter Lighthouse (worth a visit!) in one direction and Ocean Beach Pleasure Park in the other.

Parking: There is plenty of free roadside parking available along the A183 Coast Road and further parking in the seafront car parks.

If you fancy taking public transport South Shields metro station is about 1 mile away (perfect warm up!) – just follow signs towards “The Coast” or “Seaside”. Numerous buses also run along the South Shields coast and are operated by Stagecoach.

Amenities: Toilets are available at the clubhouse inside Gypsies Green Stadium (close to the start and finish) and during summer months’ public toilets under the bandstand (a little closer to the start) are open.

Post parkrun coffee is at The Bamburgh which is on the Coast Road and almost opposite the finish. Alternatives on the coast itself include Sand Dancer which is opposite the start and just slightly further along Minchella & Co which do some of the best ice cream in the North East!

Photo credit: Facebook page

Course: I will admit now that the course has been reversed since I ran it! This means it is now overall uphill as compared to downhill!The start is on the seafront promenade outside the Sandancer pub and heads in a southerly direction. Depending upon the weather the first short stretch along the promenade can be covered in a good layer of sand! The course then joins the coastal path at a gate at the end of the promenade which it follows along the cliff tops until it turns slightly inland and you reach a tarmac path at Minchella & Co ice cream hut. It is a bit up and down but overall a gradual up!

Once you reach the ice cream hut you turn right onto the pavement along Coast Road for the final mile (and the Great North Run final mile). This mile is again slightly uphill making for a tough last mile! The finish itself is opposite the Bamburgh pub (notice a theme here :P).

Photo credit: Facebook page

The coastal path itself is a mix of gravel, rough ground and grassy paths which can be puddly when it’s been wet and is bumpy in places so watch your footing. Being a costal parkrun you are well and truly exposed to the elements so maybe one to visit on a sunny summers day!

Elevation: As mentioned about the reversal of the route means it is basically an uphill parkrun!You get some relief whilst along the coast path as it has short stints of up and down but the last mile is a slow, gradual uphill unfortunately!

Number of participants: South Shields is one of the North East’s slightly smaller parkruns with an average number of 130 runners but a record attendance of 329. The point to point run means there is no passing other parkrunners on laps to cheer each other on but the small field means no tripping over each other although you need to choose your moment to overtake other runners due to the rough nature of the coastal path.

As you would expect from any parkrun there is a wide range of finish times from just under 17 minutes at the fastest to around 55 minutes for the final runner so as always it’s one for everyone!

Thanks, Michelle! For more information, check out their Facebook page and Twitter account.

Please do send me any parkrun reviews and I’ll post them or if you have any comments or additional points on existing ones, let me know! The more information the better 🙂

Does your parkrun ever reverse its course?

What’s your favourite surface to run on?

7 Replies to “South Shields parkrun review”

  1. It sounds like a much tougher course when reversed- I wonder why they changed it.
    I’ve run alternative courses when the route has needed to be changed for things like flooding or works going on, or ice on paths. The finish at Panshanger has changed as it used to go straight up a short hill, but now it zig zags up for longer. I much prefer off road, but they are not as fast I don’t think.

  2. I love reading reviews of other parkruns. South Shields parkrun looks pretty challenging. I’ll have to get my a**e into gear and send you a review of my local parkrun – Walsall Arboretum.

  3. Like Maria, I wonder why they changed it, as I would imagine it would appeal to more runners being on a downhill course!
    To my knowledge my home course hasn’t been run in reverse, although I know some of the local ones do reverse runs on birthdays and things like that.
    Mary recently posted…Running – 15 weeks post babyMy Profile

      1. I’m a South Shields girl and I can tell you that the route was reversed due to too many runners running down the pavement from the start. People were on the road and cycle path which was a bit dangerous so now the start is on the promenade away from the road. The uphill gradient is a killer and I have been trying to best my old pb from before the reversal for over a year now…one day!

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