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3 June 2021   |   Blog   |   

Great North Run @ 40

In 1979, former GB Olympic medallist, Brendan Foster was inspired. He had just returned from the Ports of Auckland Round the Bays Race, in New Zealand, and wanted to bring that fun, mass participation atmosphere home. 2 years later, the Great North Run was born!

Starting as a fun run in 1981, The Great North Run quickly grew. Soon, it was the UK’s largest annual half-marathon event, hosting some 47,000 runners in 2003. It fast became one of the most iconic events on the British sporting calendar.

The route, from Newcastle, passes over the iconic Tyne Bridge, and past the Gateshead International Stadium. There are music stations on route to keep you entertained as you run. The on course nutrition and hydration stations mean you’re sure to enjoy the race of your life. At the finish, in South Shields, you will find all the post-race hydration and aftercare you could possibly need PLUS an athlete’s village where you can wander around and soak up the incredible atmosphere!

This year the Great North Run is Back! The 2021 edition will mark not only the 40th anniversary of GNR but also the 40th running of the race. This will be a huge celebration and festival of running like no other. The Great North Run 2021 is NOT an event to miss!

Due to the high number of entry roll overs, from the 2020 edition of the race, the Great North Run 2021 is SOLD OUT. But never fear, you can still get fully supported entry and accommodation packages, for the, 40th Anniversary Edition from Sports Travel International.

13 Facts about the World’s Favourite 13.1

  • There is NO TIME LIMIT at the Simplyhealth Great North Run. Whether you run, walk, or jog the 13.1 mile route, you can simply relax and enjoy the journey.

  • At the first run, in 1981, there were 12,000 runners. This has grown to a field size of over 57,000 in recent editions of the race.
  • In 2014 Tracey Cramond, who was raising money for Butterwick Hospices, became the 1 millionth finisher of the Great North Run.
  • That year, the Great North Run became the first IAAF (now World Athletics) event to have 1 million finishers.

  • Brigid Kosegei’s broke the women’s course record in 2019. Her performance, of 1:04:28, is faster than the current Women’s Half Marathon World Record. However, the Great North Run, being a point-to-point race, is not eligible for World Records.
  • The previous Women’s Course Record (1:05:40) was held by Paula Radcliffe. Interestingly it was also Radcliffe’s World Marathon Record that Kosgei beat to become Women’s World Marathon Record Holder at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in 2019.
  • 4 time Olympic Gold Medallist Sir Mo Farah has won the last 6 editions of the Great North Run Men’s Elite Race.
  • However, the title of the most wins is held by The Baroness Tanni Grey- Thompson. She has a staggering eight victories to her name in the Women’s Wheel chair race.

  • In 2016, prolific charity runner Tony ‘The Fridge’ Phoenix completed 100 consecutive Great North Runs in 100 days. Too add to the challenge, he ran them all with a 42kg fridge on his back. He completed the challenge on GNR day. Tony raised over £8000 in the process.
  • It takes around three miles length of ribbon and 243kg of metal to create enough finisher’s medals for the Great North Run.
  • The average finish time at the Great North Run is around 2 hrs 12 mins and 30 seconds. A great target time for any runner!
  • With 57000 participants and 41,615 finishers, the Great North Run entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2014. It was the biggest half marathon anywhere, ever. Could you be among the finishers in 2021?

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