The general entry ballot for the world’s biggest half marathon, the Simplyhealth Great North Run, is now open.

The annual spectacular, which this year will be staged for the 37th time, will take place on Sunday 10th September. More than a million people have completed the 13.1 mile distance from Newcastle to South Shields since it was first staged in 1981.

Last year, it was announced that Great North Run participants raised £26,332,773 for hundreds of good causes, with more than £53million raised over all Great Run events in 2016. An estimated 63% of participants in the half marathon take part to raise money for charity.

The Great North Run is the highlight of a spectacular weekend in the North East of England which also features the iconic Great North CityGames, the Great North 5k plus the Junior and Mini Great North Runs.

Last year quadruple Olympic champion and recently knighted Sir Mo Farah thrilled the huge crowds and the live BBC TV audience by winning the Great North Run for the third time in a row. Many of the world’s greatest distance runners including Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan, Derartu Tulu and Kenenisa Bekele have triumphed over the years.

In 2016, participants from 178 countries were represented on the start line in what is believed to be a record for a running event. The World’s Favourite Run campaign will return for 2017 with runners from around the world invited to fly the flag for their country in the Simplyhealth Great North Run.

To register for the ballot prospective applicants should go to www.greatrun.org. The ballot will close at noon on Monday February 6th with all applicants being notified by email on or before Thursday 9th February.