The criticisms of the GNR are well documented, but it is all about the atmosphere. How many other races have locals out cheering at every point? It is truly awe inspiring and makes me proud to be a Geordie. Yes the route isn't that pretty and yea it's busy, but it is amazing being part of such a big event and seeing thousands of people taking on a challenge and in lota of cases, raising lota of money. It may not be a PB course, but I got one, so a bonus for me!
I often think I won't bother entering next year, but after four times I have no doubt that I will be back at some point!