AJ Bell Great North Run Awarded Prestigious World Athletics Heritage Award

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The AJ Bell Great North Run has been awarded the prestigious World Athletics Heritage Plaque. Launched by World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe, the award is in recognition of ‘an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport.’

Sir Brendan Foster, Founder and President of The Great Run Company, said: “It is fantastic that the Great North Run is being recognised by World Athletics Heritage for its contribution to mass participation road running.

“This accolade is only awarded to a handful of the truly great athletes, stadia and events, and so we are profoundly honoured that the Great North Run is now among this select group.

“It’s recognition of 40+ years of dedication to making it a truly world class event that stands apart from all others. Along the way, we have welcomed the sport’s greatest athletes alongside over 1.25m runners. We captured the imagination of our runners and the North East region, who year on year join us to do something extraordinary.

“60,000 runners take part in the Great North Run each year, travelling from every UK postcode and across the globe, and our attention is set on delivering another spectacular event on September 8.

“With just a few days left to enter this year’s Great North Run ballot, we hope this prestigious recognition encourages more people to enter and be a part of Great North Run history.”

Lord Seb Coe, President of World Athletics, said: “I am delighted that World Athletics is recognising the Great North Run with the World Athletics Heritage Plaque for its contribution to the worldwide history and development of running.

“The Great North Run, founded by Sir Brendan Foster in 1981, quickly established itself as one of the world’s largest running events. In 2014 it celebrated its millionth finisher! The race which annually raises millions for charities cemented its international reputation by hosting the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships in 1992.

“The Great North Run exemplifies excellence, attracting many of the world’s greatest runners including Liz McColgan, Tegla Loroupe, Paula Radcliffe, Carlos Lopes, Haile Gebrselassie, and Mo Farah, to name but a very few.

“Congratulations to Brendan and his team for their continued outstanding work for our sport.”

Chris Turner, Director, Heritage Department and Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) said: “I am delighted to confirm the award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque to the Great North Run.

“Awarded in our competition category, this honour celebrates the Great North Run’s outstanding contribution to the history and development of international elite and mass race road running since its foundation in 1981.”

Further details and the official World Athletics Heritage Plaque presentation will follow later in the year.

To experience the Great North Run on September 8, enter the ballot before Monday 12 February 2024 at 10am. You can enter here.


About World Athletics Heritage

The creation of the World Athletics Plaque was announced by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe at a World Athletics Heritage Night in Monaco in December 2018.

The plaque is a location-based recognition which highlights, celebrates and links together iconic and historic athletics competitions, careers, performances, cities, venues, landmarks, and culture around the world. A uniquely designed plaque is permanently and publicly displayed at a location closely associated with each recipient.

Their mission is to educate local communities and visitors about the international athletics history in their area. And in turn, honour and savour the extraordinarily entertaining and diverse history of athletics.