GATESHEAD – The build up to The BUPA Great North Run 10k (July 2012)

So, I arrived at Newcastle on a sunny Saturday afternoon after a very hot and stuffy train ride. I sneezed a lot during the trip down and the reason why was revealed 5 minutes before the end of the journey when a small dog appeared at my feet from under the seats in front. Damn you small haired dogs and your predilection to flaring up my allergies. Upon arrival at Newcastle Station I asked for some directions to my hotel in Gateshead which were provided by some kind staff who seemed overly concerned that I’d be lugging a heavy suitcase by foot. It would appear that everyone in Newcastle either gets a taxi or uses the Metro but hey that’s not the way I roll (especially considering I have a 50k walk in September that I need to train for).

The journey to my hotel took about 35 minutes in total which wasn’t bad, I’d taken a detour round to Gateshead International Stadium so I knew where I was going the next day. On arrival at the Swallow Gateshead I knew that I was going to be in for an interesting hotel stay. It was 5pm in the evening and already there were a large group of lads at the front of the hotel absolutely smashed off their tits. After checking in I went up to my room to find that the lock on my door didn’t appear to be very secure as I could push the door open slightly ajar before I’d even unlocked it. On entry to my room I found that the wallpaper was peeling off and the shower didn’t work (great) and to top it off yet again I’d been given a room opposite the lifts and next to a hen party (this seems to be a recurring theme when booking hotels for runs so I’m used to it now). I went back down to reception to ask if I could change rooms only to be told they were full so that was that. My original plan was just to grab a bite to eat in Gateshead somewhere then head back to the hotel and watch a dvd before having a quiet night but because the room was a shithole I decided I would cheer myself up and go for a meal then to the pictures so off to Newcastle it was. After a chicken pasta bake in Frankie and Benny’s it was off to see The Dark Knight Rises.


After booking my ticket for the film I overheard some guy in the queue behind me say the following: “Look at that guy on his own, I’d rather fooking top meself than go to the pictures on me own.” Which was all well and good but I was basically in a city on my own and my only other option was to sit in a shabby hotel room all night. Any normal person probably would’ve ignored that comment and left it at that. What I did was wait for him to buy his ticket then approached him and told him I’d heard what he said and that this was the first time I’d been out of the house since my whole family were wiped out in an accident the year before and that his comment was ill considered and ill timed. Now clearly my family are still alive and this guy may or may not have believed me when I said that to him but all it needs is the element of doubt that’s been placed in his mind and hopefully that will make him think before he speaks next time. As for the film, well it was all too predictable really but it entertained me for 2 and a bit hours and that’s all I needed. I was cast out into Newcastle once the film had finished and was surprised at how pissed everyone was considering it was only 10pm.


After arriving back at my hotel around 10:30pm I decided that I would probably get my head down after watching a couple of episodes of Doctor Who’s Planet of Fire only to later find that the kettle had an exposed wire (after plugging it in and boiling it – got lucky there I reckon). Unfortunately I was still awake at 2am due to the fact that the bed was rock hard. So there was me, on my own, turning a mattress at 2 in the morning to find loads of plastic shards underneath, this hotel just kept surprising me. Not long after I drifted off to be awoken suddenly around 6am by the sound of someone possibly trying to get into my hotel room by jumping at the adjacent wall. Now that I was awake I suppose it was time to get up and decide how I was going to substitute my usual prerace shower. On closer inspection of the bath I found that there was one of those shower attachment things there so, although not ideal, this dribbling piece of crap would have to do.

Breakfast was no better unless you like grease that is. I eventually decided upon a sausage, a bit of bacon and an egg but I had to give them a bit of a rub with the serviette first to get all the grease off them. Deciding that this wasn’t going to fill me I went back for some Weetabix and downed a pot of coffee. This was not going well for me, I’d had barely 3 hours sleep, a piss poor excuse for a shower and a grim breakfast so I decided that I wanted out of this hotel and quick. I packed my case and checked out not long after (although I had to leave my case at the hotel so I could pick it up later) and set off for a walk to Gateshead International Stadium to prepare for the run. (albeit two hours before the run was due to take place but I just didn’t want to hang around the hotel any longer).


In conclusion I doubt that I will book The Swallow Gateshead ever again and I’m not entirely sure that LateRooms will publish my derisory review of the hotel. (I only wish I’d had my camera handy so I could’ve taken some pictures of the room).


4 thoughts on “GATESHEAD – The build up to The BUPA Great North Run 10k (July 2012)

  1. just have to say i loved your review of the swallow hotel in Gateshead !! im sat giggling to myself , im originally from gateshead and still visit often with all my family still there and ur so right it is a sh#thole lol !! just want to add i think what you are doing to raise awareness is fantastic keep up the good work x

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