The Great North Run’s millionth finisher has given her full support to the campaign to have every country in the world represented at this year’s event.
The Great World Run campaign was launched last month, with event organisers seeking to recruit one representative from every single 193 United Nations member state in a world first.
It is the latest landmark for the iconic half-marathon, after Darlington’s Tracey Cramond became the millionth runner to cross the finish line in 2014.
Tracey was thrust into the spotlight and has enjoyed a whirlwind 18 months, which included taking part in the Round The Bays race in Auckland, New Zealand, exactly a year ago.
It was that event which provided Brendan Foster with the idea to launch the Great North Run and Tracey has fond memories of her trip to the southern hemisphere, where she was joined by her father Roy and Great Run communications director David Hart.
“It was an amazing opportunity and a fantastic memory-making trip,” said Tracey, who will be taking part in this year’s Great North Run on September 11.
“It was just fantastic. We were very spoiled by the New Zealand tourist board, they set us up to meet some of the local Maori people which was absolutely amazing. We got to find out the whole history of Auckland and the impact it had on the Maori people.”
With the millionth achievement completed, the next challenge for the Great North Run is world domination, and Tracey – who lived in South Africa for 35 years – is excited that there will be a global theme at this year’s event.
“I think it’s fabulous,” she said. “I have links to Africa, I lived there for 35 years, I can represent the Great Run and Africa all in one. I think it’s great, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for The Great Run Company and I also think in line with the fact that it’s an Olympic year, what a brilliant show case for the North-East and the Great Run Company. It couldn’t have been timed any better.”
Tracey, who fundraises for County Durham-based charity Butterwick Hospice, admits that she is still recognised as the millionth finisher.
She said: “Especially if I look like I’ve been running. When I come out of the gym and I look like I’ve just done the Great North Run, the same hairstyle, lots of people recognise me then.
“There’s often the sign of recognition when people look and say ‘don’t I know you from the telly’ and I have to explain.
“It’s quite good, the story’s still there and when I meet people they say ‘I know your face from somewhere’. I’ve had a couple of people say they could listen to my story all day. It’s such an amazing story.”
Is your country represented in this year’s Great North Run? Visit greatrun.org/gnrworldrun for more information or use #gnrworldrun