You’ve applied for a place in the world’s biggest and best half marathon, and now the wait is finally over where you’ll learn whether you have a place in the epic 40th staging of the Great North Run in 2020.


Your heart skips a beat when you see the title of the email - you’re nervous, excited and full of anticipation as you click ‘read’.

As you open the email the first thing you’ll see is the header. It will say one of two things “you’re in” or “we’re sorry”

If it’s "we’re sorry"

You didn’t get in. After those days of anticipation you may feel a little deflated, but it’s not the end of the road.

Just because you didn’t get a place in the ballot doesn’t mean you can’t be on the start line on Sunday 13 September. There are hundreds of charities who would love you to run for them and fundraise for worthy causes. In 2019, our runners raised a staggering £18 million for charities. You really can make a difference by choosing to run for charity. Check out our partner charities here  

When you’ve chosen your charity, come back and read on so we can be with you as you prepare for the big day.

If it’s a yes

Congratulations, you are going to be part of the biggest and best Great North Run yet! GNR40 will be a celebration of this landmark 40th staging and the people and places that have helped to make us great. We’ve got a whole host of new experiences for runners and spectators planned.

Your Great North Run journey has officially started, and we’ll be by your side from the first training run to event day and beyond.

Don’t worry if you’re feeling all kinds of emotions. It’s a pretty big deal, so we think that’s totally normal. Whether you’re freaking out (“What have I done?!”) or you’re itching to get running already, we’re here to help you get ready for the big day.


Whether this is your first event ever, the furthest distance you’ve taken on, or even if you’re a seasoned runner you may need a little guidance to get on the right track to preparing your body and mind for the big day; building the miles sensibly and making sure the task is achievable in your mind.

Before you grab your trainers, you might feel tempted to share your ballot result with your friends and family on social media, along with the thousands more applicants who are buzzing about the news too. Sharing your good news online can help you prepare mentally. It’s real! Yes, you’re going to be on the start line with 59,999 others this September.

Let the news sink in as you watch the likes and comments roll in, wishing you good luck and sharing your excitement. See what others are saying too by using the hashtag #GNR40 and join the conversation with the class of 2020.

Once you’re over the initial ‘lump in throat’ feeling and the butterflies have died down, check out our official training plans written by the experts to help give your training schedule some structure. We have plans from run/walk to improver level so take a look and see which suits you best.

Tip: Print out the training plan and stick it to your fridge/desk so it’s always to hand and you can fit it around your daily routine and social life. Yes, you will still have a social life – that’s not going anywhere.

We’ve also got a host of info on how to prevent injuries, what to eat, event day tips and more over on our Train and Prepare section of the website. So, have a look and take note of anything that might help you along the way.

Tip: If you’re prone to injury make sure you take it steady and book in a couple of physio appointments or sports massages to help prevent injuries leading up to the big day. If you’re worried about other health issues that might get in the way book a visit to your GP for a health check.


People from all over the world take part in Great North Run, so join our social community, and you could get chatting to someone taking on the challenge from the other side of the globe.

Join the Strava club to see how others’ training is going and help motivate them by giving kudos. That little boost could make someone’s day and keep them motivated on their half marathon journey.

On Instagram? Follow us @Great_Run for inspiration, takeovers and news.

On Twitter? Tweet us telling us how your training’s going using #GNR40 #GreatNorthRun

And for a big ol’ dose of all things the world’s biggest half marathon, head on over to Facebook.


September can feel a little bit far off at the moment – it’s just over half the year away – so there’s lots of time for you to get ready. However, if you’re feeling a bit daunted by the challenge, the sights, sounds – and smells – of a half marathon, taking part in an event in the run-up to the big day will help you.

The Great North 10k in Gateshead on Sunday 28 June 2020, is a perfect event to plan in as part of your training for the big one, the Great North Run. As well as the physical side, it will prepare you mentally for a bigger challenge a couple of months later. This year the Great North 10k will be the opener of the celebrations for GNR40 even more reason to join in the fun.

Not based in the North East? Take a look at our other 2020 events. We’ve got events of all distances across the UK.


If you don’t have any friends or family joining you for the challenge, training can feel like a lonely place, especially as you build up the miles.

One way to make those miles less lonely is to join a running group, club or crew, and surround yourself with like-minded people who are chasing the same goal. You might even find your running soul mate who lives on the next street!

Our FREE Great Run Local events are a great way to start and keep running with 2k and 5k timed weekly runs on offer. All of them are led by amazing volunteers, and take place across the UK and are a great addition to incorporate into your training.

Or our Great Runners social running groups in Newcastle, Salford, Bristol and Birmingham offer an informal group for runners of all abilities. 

Tip: try plan a few sessions per week with others so you’re less likely to miss a run!


Don’t worry if you don’t own the newest edition of running trainers or don’t have a GPS watch. You don’t need much to get running. Get yourself along to your local running shop to get kitted out with running shoe that’s good for your gait to avoid any injuries. Remember it’s about function over style, but good-looking running kit can also be a good motivator to get you literally up and running.

Want to really look the part? Check out our official Great North Run Merchandise.

The 40th Great North Run takes places on Sunday 13 September 2020. First staged in 1981 with almost 12,000 runners, this year the event will accept 60,000 entries and more than 200,000 supporters are expected to line the route from the centre of Newcastle to the coastline of South Shields. The iconic half marathon is the culmination of a weekend of running events, which kicks off on Friday 11 September with the Great North 5k and includes the beloved Junior and Mini Great North Run, the world’s biggest children’s running event, on Saturday 12 September.

For more information visit