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NewcastleGateshead, home to Olympic athletes since 1981

12th July 2012

Categories: Latest News

This September, the world’s most iconic half marathon returns to NewcastleGateshead giving runners and spectators an unmissable opportunity to see champions in action for the first time following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In 2012, 56,000 people are predicted to take part in the BUPA Great North Run and the action doesn’t stop at the finish line, with the Great North CityGames taking place on the banks of the River Tyne and events programme, Great North Run Culture, animating the destination’s museums and galleries.

Top international athletes will compete on a purpose built, street level, athletics track set within the famous natural arena on the Quayside with spectators coming up close and personal with some of the 2012 Olympic Games competitors and medal winners at the free event.  

While Great North Run Culture have taken the London 2012 Olympic Games as their inspiration and produced an impressive programme of events including, films by two Turner Prize winning artists, the return of 2011 programme favourite, poet Kate Fox, and a billboard exhibition by the Newcastle-based photographer Dan Holdsworth.

The BUPA Great North Run celebrated its 30th birthday in 2011 and is just one of many events celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in NewcastleGateshead this August and September following the hosting of Olympic Football at St James’ Park, highlights include:

NewcastleGateshead Bridges Festival
NewcastleGateshead Quayside
04 - 05 August 2012
The world famous cityscape of NewcastleGateshead, recognised all over the globe by its iconic seven bridges, will be brought to life on Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 August with a free festival celebrating the twin cities’ riverside icons. The River Tyne and NewcastleGateshead’s bridges take centre stage on Saturday 4 August in a stunning evening event for all the family.  A 12metre high lighthouse will shine its light across NewcastleGateshead as the Tyne Bridge and Gateshead Millennium Bridge help transform the riverscape into a magical theatre of fireworks.  Performers will carry out dare-devil acts as the story of the Lighthouse Keeper and the Tyne’s brave sailors unfolds.  As part of the Cultural Olympiad, ~Flow will also be in situ on the River Tyne during Bridges Festival.

London 2012 Cultural Olympiad: ~Flow
River Tyne/NewcastleGateshead Quayside
25 March - September 2012
The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements: there are many Cultural Olympiad events happening in NewcastleGateshead, which is known for the vibrancy of its cultural life. One outstanding project is ~Flow, which is part of Artists taking the lead, twelve extraordinary public art commissions funded by the UK Arts Councils for the Cultural Olympiad to help celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Produced by Ed Carter and the Owl Project, ~Flow is a floating self powered structure. A waterwheel will harness the energy of the River Tyne to power a number of electro-acoustic musical instruments that combine mechanical automation and digital technology to produce sounds that respond to the river. ~Flow has wide appeal, combining sculpture, cutting edge technology, hand crafted wooden instruments, architecture, engineering and electronic music to create an astonishing audio-visual public artwork.

The Urban Games 2012
Discovery Museum, Times Square, Grey's Monument,
17 – 19 August 2012
The North of England’s biggest and best Urban Games returns for its third year as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Newcastle City Centre will come alive with competitions, performances and showcases from the urban sports, dance and music talent of the region and beyond. With over 200 competitors and performers battling for medals in skateboarding, BMX, Parkour, Street and Break Dance, Rap and Beatboxing as well as a Pro-Riders Trials Cycle competition with world Record attempts, The Urban Games 2012 is a must see event in urban culture.

Connecting Light
Hadrian’s Wall,
31 August – 1 September 2012 - Free
Connecting Light is a major new art installation along the line of Hadrian’s Wall as a part of the London 2012 Festival celebrating the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Designed by New York based digital arts collective YesYesNo with Zachary Lieberman. The installation is a line of tethered weather balloons which will pulsate with different colours sending messages along the wall. The installation is iterative and can be accessed by the public on several sites along the wall. The installation can also be viewed remotely all over the world through digital media and the messages sent can be made visible through smartphones, iPads and tablets.

Great North Run Weekend - including Junior and Mini Great North Run and Great North Street Games
From Newcastle to South Shields,
15 - 16 September 2012
The most high profile half marathon in the world will in 2012 be the first international athletics event since the Olympics and provide an unmissable opportunity to see some of the Olympic stars in action. A series of professional and junior athletics activities on the Saturday of the Great North Run weekend has been developed over the last few years, using NewcastleGateshead Quaysides as a 'virtual arena'.

Great North Run Culture Programme
Camera Running
16 – 17 September 2012 - Free
Camera Running was filmed at the 2011 Great North Run from the perspective of an elite athlete at the front of the race. In a single slow steady shot, the camera silently follows the route ahead of the front runners, giving a view of the course only a handful of elite athletes usually see.
The hour long silent film beautifully captures and connects many of the different elements which make the Great North Run so popular. Camera Running is a celebration of runners’ achievements and of regional pride, a tribute to the heritage and history of the race and the thousands of people who turn out each year to cheer on the runners.

The End of Civilization
Tyne Theater - Free
5th – 6th October
A grand piano burns in this epic film by Turner prize-winning Scottish artist Douglas Gordon. On a site overlooking the ‘barbarian border’ between England and Scotland, a beacon is hidden deep within the Cumbrian landscape. Although re-enacting an ancient tradition this is no ordinary burning, as Gordon is dragging one of the western world’s great icons to serve as a warning and a celebration.

The Starting Line
Broad Chare, Quayside Newcastle upon Tyne
Poet in Residence for the Bupa Great North Run Kate Fox discovered that running and writing had more in common than she had ever imagined. A comical performance for all the family, The Starting Line involves optional interaction with brains, bodies and phones.

Landscape and Duration
NewcastleGateshead – Free
For Great North Run Culture 2012 the course of the Great North Run itself will become a large scale exhibition. Dan Holdsworth’s landscape vistas will turn billboards into works of art. By using large format film and extended exposure times – even longer than the course completion record of 58’ 56” - will make the images almost ghostly. Colours will be distorted, busy roads will appear empty, and clouds will appear as traces of light. The images will embody a sense of time; endurance embedded within the landscape images themselves, echoing the Great North Run.

The Order of Things
NewBridge Space, 18 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne
10 – 15th September - Free
The film tells the story of the Great North Run from the perspective of the physical course itself, its architecture, structures and materials. Turning anthropological study on its head, The Order of Things explores the man-made surroundings of the world’s largest half-marathon, drawing on influences as diverse as natural history films to government guidelines on the aesthetics of road-building.


For media enquiries contact:
Shelley Armstrong
Media & PR Manager
T. +44 (0)191 440 5739
M. +44 (0)771 763 1109

Notes to editors:
• NewcastleGateshead Initiative is a destination management and marketing agency; a public-private partnership supported by Gateshead and Newcastle City Councils, working with around 165 private sector member organisations across NewcastleGateshead and the wider region. All of our activity aims to promote and position NewcastleGateshead as a world-class vibrant tourism destination, through targeted marketing and PR campaigns nationally and internationally and through the work of our cultural programming team and convention bureau.
NewcastleGateshead Initiative is supported by a board offering expertise from a range of sectors and professions. We also work with a wide range of partners, stakeholders and businesses, who share our ambition to promote NewcastleGateshead as a world-class place in which to live, learn, work, and visit.
• United by seven bridges across a spectacular riverscape, Newcastle (a city on the north bank of the River Tyne) and Gateshead (a town on the south bank) form a single, diverse and extremely vibrant visitor destination. World-class culture, vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining, inspiring heritage, fantastic shopping and acclaimed architecture are combined here like nowhere else, by the famous Geordie spirit which is symbolised by Antony Gormley’s iconic Angel of the North as it welcomes travellers to the area.

Imagery / Photography opportunities:
• - NewcastleGateshead’s Initiative’s extensive royalty free image library

Useful links:
• - NewcastleGateshead Initiative’s media website
• - destination website for NewcastleGateshead
• - NewcastleGateshead’s visitor pass website

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