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Nitelites Supports Great North Run


Nitelites has been supporting the BUPA Great North Run for over a decade and this year was no exception.

Staged between Newcastle and South Shields, the Great North Run regularly attracts over 50,000 runners. Over the years the production requirement has changed and the infrastructure grown accordingly.


















Nitelites’ involvement in the early days started with the supply of a 100V line public address system. Over the years this has evolved into a large-scale sound reinforcement system.

The infrastructure supplied is hugely varied, and includes small Steeldeck platforms, band stages, mobile systems and ground support for the start and finish lines, with an interim point at 10km.

The specification was again Nitelites’ JBL VerTec system due to the vast distances required to be covered with fullrange audio.

Nitelites occupied five key audio positions;

Six hangs of ten VerTec VT-4889s were flown from hiab’s to cover the runners lining up over a 1,400 metre distance from the start line. Two ground stacks of four VT-4889 full-range loudspeakers at the audience position, 200 metres past the start line. Eight small ground stacked systems were built to cover areas where SPL was critical due to live TV interviews.

Four ground stacks were located at the ten mile point, each with four VT-4889s to give the runners a well-deserved morale boost and a bottle of water.

Covering the finish line at the coast in South Shields were two hangs of ten VT-4889s, providing commentary and impact music to the 20,000+ spectators and 50,000+ runners.

Two other positions included a large 100v line public address system covering over 900 meters to provide commentary and public information to the spectators and runners leaving the site. Also four stages and PA systems are supplied in the large corporate hospitality area for interviews with celebrity participants and entertainment.

The start system was driven by around 100 Crown I-Tech 8000 amplifiers, with eight amps assigned to each stack, utilising the new V4 DSP presets. At the same time six BSS London Soundweb SW-9088s provided a redundant link between each stack so that all the levels could be controlled from one central point.

Precise time delay taps of up to three seconds were programmed into the Soundweb to compensate for the 200m distance between hangs and the displaced ground stacks.

”Logistically, this is a massive operation which requires eight 17-tonne trucks, eight 7.5-tonne trucks, four 45-foot artic trucks, two Sprinter vans and a cherry picker to transport all the production. The South Shields site is built in advance of the race weekend, but the Newcastle central motorway site is not available for access until 9 hours before the first runners lined up at around 7am. After all the participants cross the start line, the system de-rigged in just two hours.”

All the hard work for the 55-strong crew paid off again this year. Nitelites’ clients were so delighted with the quality of the production that they have already rebooked the company for next year.

  1. John & Alex Penn09-08-14

    Just to say well done for a great job yesterday. I’m not a runner and have never done anything like this before – Alex had volunteered me to take part in an effort to get me fit, as the weight has been creeping up in recent years.
    Hats off to you for a really excellent job – you make a huge contribution to the whole vibe for the Event. We know how tough it is to do these things with limited assembly and strip timeframe and all the little things that can crop up, and all the planning that goes into it.

    It took us 42 minutes from the start gun to reach the start line, but we managed to run the whole thing with some struggles along the way, and raise a bunch of money for Alzheimer’s in the process.

    What a fantastic event – you did us proud!

    John & Alex Penn, Directors, SSE Audio Group

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