Things you’ll only experience at the AJ Bell Great North Run

AJ Bell Great North Run – Sunday 8 September 2024

60,000 runners are expected to take on the AJ Bell Great North Run this year – but what is it about the world’s biggest half marathon that keeps drawing running newbies and seasoned pros to the start line?

From the warm Geordie welcome to the final scenic seaside mile, the Great North Run is legendary – and guaranteed to be unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced.

Thinking about joining us on Sunday 8 September 2024? Read on to discover what you might see, hear and experience over 13.1 miles of pure magic.

Local hero line-up
You’d be forgiven for thinking that your Great North Run experience begins at the start line, but the atmosphere starts building a long way before.

On race day, the streets of Newcastle are thronged with thousands of runners making their way to the start – and the buzz is electric.

And nothing – nothing – beats the feeling of standing in your pen surrounded by other runners with photos of loved ones pinned to their charity vests while Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero blasts over the speakers.

We’re not crying, you’re crying.

Running for all
You’ll be part of the world’s biggest, most inclusive celebration of running.

Sir Mo Farah chose to end his iconic career at the AJ Bell Great North Run in 2023, and in 2024 we are excited to welcome another fantastic line-up of global elite runners – just don’t blink or you’ll miss them!

You’ll also cross the same start line as Paralympians and world record-holders, including wheelchair participants David Weir and Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson.

And talking of world records, visually impaired runner Keith Turner successfully set a new world record for being the first untethered blind half marathon runner – an incredible feat!

It’s not just about world-class athletes, though. The cheers for the final runners over the finish line are just as loud as for the elites – maybe even louder – and we have dozens of pacers catering for runners aiming for anywhere between 1 hour 30 and 2 hours 45.

In our eyes, all our runners are winners, whatever their time – and that phenomenal North East support will be with you every step of the way.

Supporter central
If you sign up for the Great North Run, you’ll be in great company – and we don’t just mean the other runners.

The Great North Run is notorious for its phenomenal supporters, with literally thousands of cheerleaders lining the entire 13.1 mile route.

You’ll experience the very best of Geordie hospitality in the form of Jelly Babies, ice pops and orange segments.

And look out for the Beerstop just past the 10 mile mark – a quick sip might be just the thing you need to power you to the finish line.

Crazy costumes
Runners love to make a statement at The Great North Run. And from the Supermario Brothers to the Simpsons, you’re guaranteed to spot some fun costumes on the way to South Shields.

A special mention goes to those runners who set themselves an extra challenge with their outfits. For the legends who take on the race with fridges on their backs to those who dress up in full furry mascot rig-out, we have three words: you are incredible.

Oggy Oggy Oggy
Who knows where the “Oggy Oggy Oggy!” chants started, but they’ve become an integral part of Great North Run folklore.

As you dip down into the tunnels around Newcastle City Centre you’re bound to hear it – just remember, there’s only one response allowed – the loudest “Oi Oi Oi!” you can manage.

Bands on the run
Stationed at key points along the route to keep your motivation high and your legs pounding, the Great North Run’s bands on the run are a vital part of the race day experience.

Nothing beats live music – and who knew the North East had so many steel pan bands?!

Seeing the Sea
As you approach mile 12 you’ll hit a steep downward slope and then a shimmering something comes into view: the sea.

You’ve made it! Well, almost. What follows is a final scenic seaside mile where the noise goes up several notches and, if you’re struggling, you’re sure to get a second wind.

As the finish line comes into view, you’ll hear music blasting from the DJ trucks, the crowd cheering your name and perhaps even a Drag Queen shouting words of encouragement (that’s what happened in 2023, anyway…)

Get ready for the finish line feeling – you did it!

Party time
The fun doesn’t end at the finish, though. Once you’ve got your goody bag and medal around your neck, it’s time to bask – so pose by that photo wall, ring that AJ Bell bell and head for the Après Run Zone.

If you’ve raised money for a good cause, find them (and lots of treats like massages and biscuits) in the Charity Village; otherwise, head for the food stall and the marquee to soak up the atmosphere – and think about signing up for next year…

The ballot for the AJ Bell Great North Run 2024 is now open – but hurry! It closes on Monday 12 February at 10am.

Sign up here to be in with a chance of a place on the world’s most iconic half marathon start line on Sunday 8 September.

And if you’re lucky enough to get a spot, keep your eye out for magic moments and and share any photos on the day using #GreatNorthRun.

For more information on the event visit here.