Great North Run confirmed to go ahead in 2021 with Covid-secure adaptations

Organisers of the Great North Run have confirmed that the event will return this autumn after being cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

By Ross Robertson
Monday, 28th June 2021, 12:36 pm

The confirmation came as part of celebrations to mark the event’s 40th birthday. The first staging of the race took place on June 28, 1981.

GNR founder Sir Brendan Foster visited South Shields today (Monday, June 28) as part of the milestone occasion, joining runners crossing the finishing line of the iconic event.

Forty people – one to mark each year of the run – joined Sir Brendan to dash over the last 400 metres of the route on The Leas.

Each of them had their own story to share about the Great North Run – from those who have taken part each year since its start, to fancy dress runners and fundraisers.

The 40th staging of the half marathon was due to take place in September 2020. Instead, like countless other charity events, it was postponed due to the ongoing pandemic and its associated restrictions.

Paul Foster, chief executive of the Great Run company, confirmed at a press call on Monday that the event would go ahead on Sunday, September 12 – but with some adaptations to ensure it is Covid secure.

Runners at a previous GNR

This includes a staggering of start times for runners, which is expected to take place over several hours as opposed to 45 minutes.

This will help give participants a lot more space on the course.

Mr Foster said organisers are “very confident” in their plans to stage the event, adding that “barring another national lockdown” the race should go ahead as scheduled.

More follows.

Enjoy our headlines with fewer distractions and sign up to a digital subscription today - fewer ads, faster load times and all of the stories you need.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue supporting our communities for generations to come.

Click ‘Subscribe’ in the menu to find out more and sign up