Entries for this year's staging of the world's largest half marathon – the Great North Run – opened on 6 January, and organisers have already revealed that a record number of people are entering the draw for a place.
To date entries to the ballot are up by 40%, passing the highest ever number of entries and there is still more than a week to go before the ballot closes. Demand for the children's events, the Junior and Mini Great North Run also looks set to exceed previous years with thousands expressing their interest ahead of entries opening next month. The entries to the Junior event open at 10am on 18 February and the Mini event entries open at 10am on 25 February.
This is a great news for both the event and the area, with research released earlier this month showing the positive impact of the Great North Run not only on the individuals who take part, but also on the economy, tourism and perception of the region. This impact looks set to grow with the extra interest in the event.
Each year the Great North Run gives a £31 million boost to the regional economy and welcomes thousands of visitors from outside of the region – 96% of whom rated the destination as good or excellent.
In addition to people entering the ballot more charities than ever before have requested places for fundraisers to run in the event. Over £18 million is raised for good causes by people participating in the Great North Run every year, but the 2020 figure looks set to be even higher with the increased interest for charity places.
The Great North Run, which this year will see its landmark 40th staging, has grown into a massive weekend of sport, with running events to suit all ages and abilities. To celebrate this anniversary, organisers are planning even more entertainment and experiences for runners and spectators, bigger and better children's running events and a new Friday night slot for the Great North 5k run. They are encouraging people not to miss out on this milestone event, for which they already anticipate a record number of finishers on the South Shields seafront this year.
Paul Foster, Chief Executive of The Great Run Company said: “We're blown away by the support for the event and it's great that there is so much enthusiasm for entries into the 40th staging of the run. This is good news for the event, the region, spectators, volunteers and everyone involved.
“Every year thousands of people come together for the Great North Run in a massive celebration of running and human determination. The event really does showcase the area and people at their best. This year, the run will be more memorable than ever, and we want to encourage people to put their name into the ballot to be in with a chance of being a part of this amazing event.”
The Great North Run takes place on Sunday 13 September. First staged in 1981 with almost 12,000 runners, the event now accepts 57,000 entries and has more than 200,000 supporters lining 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.
The entry ballot closes at 21:00 on Sunday 9 February and places in the run are drawn at random from all who have entered.
To enter the Great North Run ballot visit GreatRun.org/North