The Great North Run is preparing to celebrate its 40th staging with the largest ever number of places available to runners.

Organisers have revealed that a record 60,000 places will be available to runners in 2020.  This comes after organisers have reported a massive increase in demand for places from both individual runners and charities looking to secure places for fundraisers.

With the entry ballot set to close this Sunday, runners are urged to get their applications in before the deadline to avoid missing out on this must-do event in the running calendar.

Paul Foster, Chief Executive of the Great Run Company said: “This is already the world’s biggest half marathon, but the demand we’ve seen this year has been amazing. We’re pleased that we’re able to accommodate a few more runners and take our entries to 60,000. It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend, with new experiences and entertainment and with so many people entering the draw for places this year we want as many as possible to get in on the action.

“We’re grateful to all of our partners – the councils, police, NHS trusts / medical providers, fire brigade and Nexus  – who have worked with us to ensure that we can accommodate more runners, while making sure they have a happy and safe experience” 

Nell McAndrew is a great supporter of the event and a regular on the start line. Speaking of what the Great North Run means to her, Nell said: “The Great North Run is all about the people, giving everyone a chance to shine, to feel proud of our achievements and to improve our health and wellbeing.”

Nell has already announced her intention to run in this year’s landmark 40th staging.

The Great North Run has grown into a huge celebration of running for the region. This year the weekend will get off to a running start on Friday 11 September with the Great North 5k in a brand new evening time slot. Entries to this Quayside curtain raiser open on Monday 10 February.

Focus will fall on the youngsters when Saturday 12 September will see the Junior and Mini Great North Run return to the Newcastle Gateshead Quayside – the biggest children’s running event in the UK. Entries for these events open on Tuesday 18 February (Junior) and Tuesday 25 February (Mini).

The Great North Run is the world’s biggest half marathon and this year takes place on Sunday 13 September, with more than 200,000 people expected to line the streets to cheer on the runners.

The entry ballot is open until 21:00 on Sunday 9 February all applicants will be notified by Friday 14 February. To join the thousands of others aiming to be their greatest, enter at GreatRun.org/North