Things you only see at the AJ Bell Great North Run

AJ Bell GNR Ballot open

AJ Bell Great North Run – Sunday 10 September 2023

The world’s biggest half marathon, the Great North Run, is back to the original city to sea route on Sunday 10 September 2023.

To celebrate the event’s 42nd year in style, we’ve collated a list of (our favourite) things that are unique to the one and only Great North Run. If you’re a seasoned pro, we’re sure you’ll have seen some of these over the years, and if you’re joining us on the start line for the first time, keep your eyes peeled… Who knows what else you might spot!

A spot of Sunday reading

Only at the Great North Run will you see this intriguing new pre-run warm up! Unconventional, but certainly educational, this gentleman can be seen on the start line every year reading his newspaper before the race. Keep an eye out for him this year, or, try it out yourself. We can’t guarantee it’ll prepare you for the race but it’s worth a shot!

Local Hero

As the starter gun fires and the runners begin making their way across the start line, it wouldn’t be the Great North Run without hearing the iconic notes of Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero blasting through the speakers. He even recorded a special version of this symbolic Geordie anthem in 2020 for a Great North Run celebration programme in the absence of the race.

A special version of the track was played last year as we remembered Queen Elizabeth II, it was a memorable moment for everyone.

The song is an intrinsic element of the Great North Run start line, one that certainly brings a tear to our eyes!

Look to the skies

The Red Arrows zooming over the Tyne Bridge and thousands of runners is an iconic sight and a defining moment of the Great North Run. As runners make their way across the bridge, the planes soar across in colours of red, white and blue. It’s something runners and spectators look forward to every year, and 2023 will be no different!

Oggy Oggy Oggy

Throughout the iconic 13.1 mile route you’ll definitely hear the well-known chant “Oggy Oggy Oggy” echoing around runners and spectators. Why not join in? And if you get to a tunnel and don’t hear it – shout it out – you’ll be sure to get an amazing response! But save some energy for the running too!

Elvis has most certainly NOT left the building

Your Great North Run journey would just not be the same without a certain white-suited singer, who makes his appearance year after year. Listen out for this iconic Elvis impersonator belting out classics like ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘All Shook Up’ and ‘Hound Dog’ around the 10 mile mark. Make sure to give the King of rock & roll a big wave.

The greatest final mile

The final mile of the Great North Run is a memorable one along the coast. Not only will you be treated to views across the sparkling North Sea, but along the final mile there’s going to be plenty of noise! We’ve got steel bands, charity cheer points, DJ trucks, and loads and loads of supporters cheering you all the way along. Get ready to experience the greatest final mile…

Supporters – the ones who make it special

This photo shows only a few of the thousands of amazing supporters who make the Great North Run so incredible. Without them, those 13.1 miles would feel a lot tougher – and every year our runners sing the praises of the supporters along the route. We are maybe a tiny bit biased, but no other supporters can cheer and chant as well as our amazing Great North Run supporters! There will be plenty of these creative signs along the way on the day – keep an eye out for them!

Party at the finish

It’s tradition to award your successes, if you so wish, with a celebratory pint. The fun doesn’t stop after you cross the finish line – you’ve done the hard work, so now you can kick back and enjoy your achievement! Visit our Après Run Zone, located at the South Shields finish line.

The ballot for the AJ Bell Great North Run 2023 is open from the 9th January until the 20th February at 10am, sign up and you could be taking a place on the world’s most iconic half marathon start line on Sunday 10 September!

If you do get a spot, don’t forget to keep an eye out for these defining moments and share any photos on the day with the #GreatNorthRun!

For more information on the event visit here.