Morrisons has today announced that it is to become the new title sponsor of the UK’s biggest mass participation running series – Great Run– which includes one of the world’s most iconic road running events, the Great North Run.

The sponsorship will initially run for four years and commences with the Great Winter Run and International Cross Country in Edinburgh on January 10th.

The sponsorship will cover eight city locations with 12 events involving more than 220,000 runners. Morrisons is hoping to grow this number further by encouraging some of its 11 million customers and 120,000 colleagues to take part in events that range from 5k to the half marathon. The agreement also includes the Junior and Mini Great Run events.

Morrisons Chief Executive, Dalton Philips, said: “Over the last 34 years, the Great North Run has become a national institution and now with Great Runs across Britain, we believe it should be supported by a truly British sponsor. We have stores in more than 500 communities so we can play a big part in getting more people running with all the benefits that brings.

“This sponsorship means that many more of our customers and colleagues will be able to take part in these great events and raise more money for charity, including our nominated charity partner, Sue Ryder.”

The Great Run series was founded in 1981 by former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster.

Brendan Foster, Chairman, said: “We are delighted to welcome Morrisons as the title sponsor of the Great Run series and we are excited about the association between one of Britain’s biggest retailers and Britain’s biggest mass participation running series. Our ambition is to have a million people taking part in our Great Run programme and Morrisons are ideal partners to help us to achieve this.”

Morrisons’ current charity partner, Sue Ryder, will have the opportunity to recruit more runners to raise even more funds to support their work.

Sue Ryder Chief Executive, Heidi Travis said: “It’s great news that Sue Ryder is Morrisons nominated charity for the Great Run series. Raising money through events like these means we can continue to provide incredible hospice and neurological care and make a lasting difference to thousands of families facing the loss of a loved one.