Don’t give up on your AJ Bell Great North Run dream

The wait is over and, sadly, if you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’ve received an email to say you’ve missed out on a ballot place for the 2024 AJ Bell Great North Run. We understand you might be feeling deflated, but we’re here to tell you that you can keep your dream alive!

60,000 runners will be lining up on the start line on Sunday 8 September, and a HUGE number of these will be charity runners, i.e. runners who lost out on a ballot place but decided to take up one offered by a charity.

Every year these incredible charity runners raise around £25 million – yes, £25 MILLION – for worthy organisations and causes close to their hearts. So why not guarantee your place and make a difference at the same time by running for charity?

Your journey to the world’s greatest start line begins here:

Step 1 – Secure Your Charity Place

Our charity partners are simply brilliant; they do incredible and essential work for hugely worthy causes, and you can be part of their team. They’ll support you, cheer you and thank you for your super running & fundraising exploits.

You may have a charity in mind, but if you’re in need of some inspiration look at the list of AJ Bell Great North Run charities here. Go on, you won’t regret it!

Step 2 – Get Social 

Boom, you’ve done it, but what next? Well, once you’ve committed to your charity place, tell the world what you’re doing! Announce that you’re running using the hashtag #GreatNorthRun and be part of the buzz as thousands of others do the same, sharing their goals and their first sweaty post-training run selfies.

This is your community – the #GreatNorthRun class of 2024 – and they’ll help motivate you when the miles are long, and the hills feel tough. Take a look at our Strava group, where thousands of Great North Runners already hang out and support each other with training tips & progress, or tag us in your training posts on Twitter or Instagram.  And make sure you’re following us on all platforms, including Facebook, so we can keep you up to date with all things Great Run-related.  

Step 3 – Get Training 

A training plan is an essential part of your Great North Run journey, helping you build miles, improve your pace and stamina and avoid injuries. And the good news is that our official training plans cover all abilities, whether you’re planning to run-walk the route or you’re aiming for a new PB. Have a think about a realistic target and take a look – you’ll also find lots of information and advice on everything from food and drink to our top race day tips over on our Training Advice page.

Sticking your training plan up somewhere where you’ll see it every day – above the kettle, for example, or on the fridge – sounds like a simple trick, but it’s been proven to help runners stick to their schedule, so why not give it a go? And if you have any health worries or physical niggles at all, book an appointment to see a sports physio or your GP

Step 4 – Practice Makes Perfect 

Booking in one or two events in the build-up can also be a great way to keep you on track.  After all, September can feel like a long way off, and having a date for a 10k in the diary can give you something to aim for in the shorter term. 

If you’ve never taken part in a mass running event before, the sights and sounds of tens or thousands of people running together can come as a bit of a shock, so a warm up race can help you get in the groove. 

Top of the 10k to do list has to be the AJ Bell Great North 10k given it shares the same iconic start line as the Great North Run and is perfectly positioned in the calendar (7 July)! It’s so much more than a training event though, the route is brilliant taking runners over the Tyne Bridge twice, through the heart of Newcastle City Centre before a grandstand finish on Town Moor. Plus the music & entertainment is rocking from start to finish, with a finish DJ a new addition for 2024! Sign up now before entries sell out!

If you’re travelling to Newcastle from further afield, another Great Run event might tick the box.  And remember there’s a fun and fast AJ Bell Great North 5k on Friday 6 September – come and kick off the Great North Run weekend in style on the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside! 

Step 5 – Get The Gear 

Decent trainers are essential, and make sure you’ve trained in the gear you plan to wear on race day.

If you want some stash to show you’ll be on that iconic start line or perhaps it’ll help keep those legs moving through the training, then you *could* treat yourself to some official training gear. Our stylish tops, shorts, hoodies, and more (there’s even a bobble hat!) will kickstart your motivation and have you looking the part no matter where your training takes you.

Step 6 – Get Fundraising 

Keep talking about your fundraising target – to your friends, family, colleagues and social media followers. Starting your fundraising early gives you the best chance of hitting – and even exceeding – your goal. And nothing gives you the determination to tick off those training runs – and get round the course on the day itself – like knowing you’re doing it for a worthy cause.

We can’t wait to see you on the start line in September, Great North Runners!

Keep your AJ Bell Great North Run dream alive – your journey to the start line begins with a click right here and selecting your charity.