At this year's BUPA Great North Run, the world's biggest half-marathon, which took place in October, A-Plant equipment was present from start to finish to ensure that the race went well for the enormous entry of 52,000 runners. In spectacular weather, some 30,000 spectators lined the route on the roads between Newcastle and South Shields to cheer on the participants, who this year raised an estimated £10 million for local and national charities.
Coordinated by the Stockton-on-Tees depot, six delivery lorries from of A-Plant Power Generation and Welding in the north of England were used at the start of the race. Each of these carried two 30 kVA generators, one working and the other as a standby, to power the public address system, the loudspeakers for which were suspended from the lorries' HIAB cranes. Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Beijing gold medallists, Rebecca Adlington, Chris Hoy and Ellie Simmons, sounded hooters to start the road race, the biggest of its kind in Europe.
The A-Plant lorries allowed the generators to be moved quickly once all the 52,000 runners had started their race, to open up the motorway for use again. Ensuring an uninterruptible power supply for the speakers is very important as the PA system is central to the Great North Run's emergency plan.
The A-Plant equipment was hired by Portsmouth-based Fox Electrical Services Ltd and included a further 15 generators at the Finish, supplying power for the Hospitality and Charity Villages as well as the Field Hospital. Eight VT1 tower lights from A-Plant were also used by Fox Electrical. In addition, the A-Plant Plant & Tool depot in Newcastle supplied a 7-metre telehandler for lifting and placing work and the Stockton Powered Access depot supplied a Liftlux scissor lift, which was used at the start of the race.
Despite a superlative display, Jo Pavey failed by just two seconds from becoming the first British runner since Paula Radcliffe five years ago to win the women's 2008 BUPA Great North Run. In a nailbiting finish, Jo Pavey looked as if she might snatch victory when edging a few strides ahead in the final mile but found herself thwarted by the African pair of Gete Wami and Magdalene Mukunzi. Wami who later revealed she had been troubled with a hamstring injury in the last four miles, pulled ahead in the last 100m becoming the third Ethiopian in the last four years to lift the title.
In the men's race, Tsegay Kebede made it an Ethiopian double with a runway win and although running solo for almost the last nine miles, posted a world class time. Gebre Gebremariam, his fellow countryman, was a distant runner-up, holding off Abdi Abdirahman the USA Number one by four seconds.
Olympic silver medallist, Shelly Woods, in a neck-and-neck finish, lost her wheelchair crown to Diane Roy, the Canadian winning by a second with Italy's Francesca Porcellato well off the pace in third. Canada's Josh Cassidy improved on his third place of two years ago to beat German rival Ralph Brunner by nearly a minute in men's wheelchair race. Rafael Jiminez of Spain took third position in the race.
The Great North Run is one of several BUPA-sponsored Great Runs that take place every year, including events in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Portsmouth.
To meet emergency requirements, A-Plant Power Generation and Welding, part of A-Plant Specialist Products, offers a complete range of generating sets from the smallest 10kVA diesel set through to the largest 1250kVA model. All A-Plant generators incorporate the latest engines from leading manufacturers such as GenSet, Cummins and SDMO, with state-of-the-art alternators which can provide single or three phase power as required. A-Plant has a network of Power Generation depots across Britain, many of which are in coastal locations, such as Aberdeen, Stockton, Lowestoft and Newport, with other locations at Glasgow, Manchester, London, Hull and the Midlands.