FIGURES released following Sunday’s Simplyhealth Great North Run have shown the event has grown further in popularity and stature in 2017.
The iconic Simplyhealth Great North Run, which this year was started by event founder Brendan Foster, is the world’s biggest half marathon and the United Kingdom’s biggest mass participation running event, and a record 43,127 finishers crossed the finish line on Sunday.
Participants covered a staggering total of 564,964 miles between them; equivalent to almost 22 times around the world, with runners from more than 140 nations and every postcode in the United Kingdom represented.
This year, more than 100,000 people applied for the 57,000 ballot places in the world-famous half marathon when it opened in January.
More than 25,000 people signed up for the reminder service for next year’s event, which will be the 38th staging, within two days of this year’s conclusion.
The four-hour live broadcast on BBC One was watched by an average of 1.5 million viewers with a peak of almost 2 million, while an average of 1.1 million viewed the highlights show later that day on BBC Two.
The half marathon was viewed around the world, with the broadcast aired throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, New Zealand and the USA.
On social media, the event was the top trending subject on Twitter over the weekend, the hashtag #GreatNorthRun was seen by 12.5 million people on Twitter alone, while Great North Run Facebook content reached at least 1.6 million people in the week around the event.
On Saturday, the Great North CityGames, a free-to-spectate street level athletics meeting, was watched by a peak audience of more than a million people on BBC One. The two-hour programme was also streamed live on USA Track and Field, and broadcast internationally on Sky New Zealand.
More than 25,000 participants were taking part on behalf of charities in the event, which raised £26million for good causes in 2016.
The Simplyhealth Great North Run was the pinnacle of a weekend of top-class sporting action which kicked off with a 5K on Saturday morning, followed by the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great North Runs for runners aged between three and 16.
With 7,000 participants, the Junior and Mini Great North Runs are firmly established as the UK’s longest-running and biggest children’s running events.
The 2018 Simplyhealth Great North Run takes place on Sunday 9 September 2018. A reminder service will run until the ballot opens for entry in January.
For more information, visit greatrun.org/north