Things you only see at the Great North Run

Womens Running Summer

Great North Run – Sunday 11 September 2022

The world’s biggest half marathon, the Great North Run, is back to the original city to sea route on Sunday 11 September 2022.

To celebrate the event’s 41st 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 Great North Run 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. 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 2022 will be no different! This year the Red Arrows will also be performing a fantastic aerial display at the finish, in the skies over South Shields – we can’t wait!

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

This year, the Great North Run is returning to its original route with its spectacular seaside finish line. That means the return of the amazing, final mile 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 lady is one of 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, and reenergise with a pint from local Wylam Brewery.

GNR bingo

Runners see lots of spectator sights throughout the route, from city to sea. We’ve heard runners have been offered ice-pops, orange segments, beer, sweets or even soaked by hose pipes from spectators in their gardens. Keep track this year, see what you can collect, and add to your Great North Run bingo!


We can’t wait to welcome you all back to the Great North Run on Sunday 11 September. 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.