Great North Run To Celebrate 40Th Event

Womens Running

The Great North Run general entry ballot opened on January 6 and will remain open until February 9. To enter, visit greatrun.org/North

PLANS have been unveiled to celebrate the Great North Run's 40th staging in 2020.

The landmark half marathon was first staged in 1981 where almost 12,000 people took part. Now, the Great North Run has grown to be the world's biggest half marathon, with 57,000 people registered to take part annually, and more than 1.2million people having taken part across the event's history.

Great North Run organisers this week officially launched the GNR40 celebrations with a bespoke logo hinting back to the event's first staging, and announced some of the new innovations for 2020.

These will include moving the popular Great North 5K from the Saturday prior to Great North Run day back to a Friday night and inviting the business community of Tyneside to enter a team as part of the Business Challenge, which will allow the full Saturday to be dedicated to the Junior and Mini Great North Runs which have grown to be the world's biggest children's running events.

Terry Deary, historian, author and 21-time Great North Run finisher, is writing the script for a feature length documentary charting the history of the iconic event, which will be produced with funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund. The 74-year old will also be taking part in the half marathon on Sunday, September 13.

Brendan Foster, chairman of the Great Run Company and founder of the Great North Run, told an invited audience of media and stakeholders that it was his wish for the event to have the greatest amount of finishers in its history, with 43,127 crossing the line in 2018, the previous highest number.

The event also reiterated the link-up between Great North Run and charity Made By Sport, who have become the official charity partner of the event in 2020.

Brendan Foster said: "This event has been made what it is by the people of the North East at first, then that grew to the people of the UK. The idea fell on very fertile ground and grew incredibly quickly from there. This event is for everyone, it's open to all.

"This year, while we can expect the biggest Great North Run ever, it's the people taking part that will make it the best Great North Run ever.

"We couldn't imagine the success this has grown into being at the start, when we had 12,000 finishers in 1981. It was the biggest event then but we had no idea we'd break 50,000."

The Great North Run general entry ballot opened on January 6 and will remain open until February 9. To enter, visit greatrun.org/North