Battling the Elements: Great North Run 2023 for Meningitis Research Foundation

October 2023

The Great North Run is well known for its iconic half marathon route, with tens of thousands of runners winding through the vibrant streets of Newcastle upon Tyne and millions raised for charity each year.

This year’s Great North Run was quite different to any other that Meningitis Research Foundation runners have faced with an incredible mix of blazing heat, thunderstorms, and torrential rain adding to the memories that were made as part of #TeamMRF. Despite the unpredictable weather, the spirit of the day triumphed, with charity, fundraising, and the fight against meningitis emerging winners.

Many of our Great Noth Run team we were running for deeply personal reasons and they achieved much more than a finish time or fundraising total. Running for Meningitis Research Foundation provided an opportunity for them to remember loved ones and reflect on their experience of meningitis whilst taking action to defeat it.

“We did it! 13.1 miles! Thank you so much to everyone for your support - we are overwhelmed by your generosity and are so proud to have raised so much money for this important cause. This weekend has been emotional - we’ve shared memories of our wonderful friend, and have laughed and cried along the way.” Team Stealth 2023.

MRF runners and staff after the Great North Run 2023

A hot start

The first finishers who made it back to the Meningitis Research Foundation tent in the charity village were proud of their achievements as they celebrated with family and friends. The heat had pushed our runners to their limits as they tackled the early miles of the course but because their personal drive our #TeamMRF runners had kept going. They were not only running for a personal accomplishment but to defeat meningitis so that no one else has to go through it and we could not be more grateful. for their involvement

The weather takes a turn

As runners pressed on through the race, the weather took an unexpected turn. Some very dark clouds gathered overhead and everyone in the Charity Village was instructed to take cover as the storm came in. We all watched nervously as the sky transformed into a dark and heavy storm which drenched returning runners.

Defying the elements

Despite the challenging weather conditions, our 2023 Great North Runners pressed on. The camaraderie on the course was palpable as strangers became allies, offering encouragement and support to fellow participants. The determination to complete the race and honour the commitment to their chosen charities shone through.

A moment of charity for the charity runners!

Throughout the thunderstorms and torrential rain that the Great North Run experienced, there were wonderful moments of solidarity.  Runners and supporters from various charities found themselves stranded, seeking refuge from the relentless downpour. It was here, in the Meningitis Research Foundation tent, that the true spirit of the running community shone through.

As the rain poured down in sheets, runners from a number of different charities took shelter in our tent. As the final #TeamMRF finishers ended the race in rain-soaked South Shields, they were met with cheers, applause, and heartfelt words of encouragement in the Meningitis Research Foundation tent. Their fellow runners, who had found refuge earlier, had now turned into cheerleaders, celebrating the achievement of our final runners who had raced through both extremes of weather.

The sight of our #TeamMRF runners entering the tent, soaked but proud, was a testament to their resilience and dedication. It was a reminder that, regardless of the challenges faced on the course or the cause they represented, they were all united in that moment for the race to defeat meningitis.
The Great North Run 2023 will be remembered not only for its dramatic weather but for the spirit of its participants. Thank you to everyone for being part of #TeamMRF – the race to defeat meningitis cannot happen without you. Your support and the funds that you have raised means that we’re getting ever closer to achieving the goal of defeating meningitis by 2030.

The Great North Run has raised £20,000 from our dedicated runners, bringing us one step closer to a world free from of meningitis – thank you. Thanks as well go out to our cheer leaders who made donations following sheltering with us in the rain:

“Thank you to the Meningitis Research Foundation team at the Great North Run charity village who squeezed a few extra soaked runners into their shelter when the heavens opened. Your hospitality was much appreciated!"

Running for Meningitis Research Foundation

#TeamMRF runners are driven by the desire to support Meningitis Research Foundation. Meningitis is a devastating disease that can strike suddenly and without warning, affecting individuals of all ages. The Great North Run 2023 provided an opportunity for our supporters to make an impact by channelling their energy into raising funds and awareness.

“It’s been nice to feel like part of a team raising money and awareness for the same cause”

Places are now open for next years race follow this link to sign up to run the Great North Run in 2024. Hopefully, both the sun will shine a little less at the start of the race, but nevertheless keep shining so we can avoid the challenges brought about this year by the rain! 

Since the charity was founded in 1989, we have awarded 161 research grants. The total value of our investment in vital scientific research is over £19.1 million (€24.7 million).
You don’t need to face meningitis and sepsis alone
A global vision for meningitis by 2030 and an action plan to get there.