Great North Run organisers admit ‘going over the top’ with legal strong-arm over small Welsh village charity run

The Great North Run.
The Great North Run.

Great North Run organisers have admitted being “a little over the top” in a wrangle with a charity race in a small Welsh village.

The Narth Run, which usually only features a few dozen runners, was forced to drop the word “Great” from its title for Sunday’s event in Monmouthshire.

Organiser Steve Coppell said it had been a “tongue-in-cheek” to the world-famous half marathon event in Tyneside.

“When you live in a village called The Narth there really is only one thing to call your race, so slightly mischievously, tongue-in-cheek, as a bit of fun, we put the word ‘Great’ in front of our run and ran it quite happily for a couple of years,” he told the BBC.

“After last year’s run we got a solicitor’s letter on behalf of Nova [since renamed The Great Run Company] who organise these splendid events the Great North Run and Great South Run etc, pointing out we’d inadvertently been infringing their trademark.

“They had actually trademarked the word ‘Great’ in connection with place names and sporting events.”

The Great Run Company’s David Hart has admitted the organisation had perhaps gone a bit too far.

He said: “I must admit I hadn’t heard of the Narth Run until a few days ago, but they did receive a letter from our solicitors.

“As a brand that’s built up over the last 30 years or so we have to try to protect our identity, but I did feel sending the solicitor’s letter was a little bit over the top for a little village event.

“When I heard about it I got in contact with the organisers and had a very amicable chat and we made a donation to them and are going to give them a couple of free entries to next year’s event.”