'Great North Run will lead the way in honouring the Queen' - founder Sir Brendan Foster on the decision for half marathon to go ahead and celebrating the life of Her Majesty

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The Great North Run will ‘lead the way in honouring Her Majesty’, its founder has said in speaking of the difficult decision to continue with the half marathon event following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Organisers of the Great North Run have confirmed the main race will go ahead on Sunday, September 11 as planned, with a number of changes to the event, following the monarch's death.

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.

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Describing the decision to continue with the Great North Run, founder Sir Brendan Foster, said: “In common with people around the country, we heard the news yesterday in great sadness, because she, I believe, represented everything that was great about the country. We talked to civic authorities and the government and decided the best thing to do was to go ahead with the event in good faith.”

Great North Run founder, Sir Brendan FosterGreat North Run founder, Sir Brendan Foster
Great North Run founder, Sir Brendan Foster

“It’s all about tens of thousands of people coming together and in this instance, although the mood will be different, it will allow the opportunity for people to pay tribute to the life of our great Queen. The mood will be set by the public and how they respond. We know the North East public and we know this event brings in people from all around the world, so we’re pretty sure they get the tone completely correct.”

“The Great North Run is coming home to South Shields, in different circumstances now to what we expected, however we’re pretty certain South Shields will lead the way in showing how the British public thought about our Queen.”

A statement from The Great Run Company said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family. In light of this sad news, there will be a number of planned changes to the Great North Run weekend.

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“The Great North 5k, incorporating the UK Athletics 5K Road Championship, will not go ahead as planned. We have also made the decision to postpone the Junior and Mini Great North Run.

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away aged 96 on September 8Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away aged 96 on September 8
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away aged 96 on September 8

Sunday’s Great North Run will go ahead as planned. The event has traditionally been a celebration of the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people, this year it will be an opportunity for us to come together and express our condolences, while celebrating the life of our extraordinary Queen.

“The thousands of runners taking part are expected to raise an estimated £25 million pounds in much needed charitable donations, a fitting tribute to the Queen, who lived her life in the service of our country and its people.

“Elements of the runner and spectator experience will be more subdued out of respect to the Royal Family. Whilst we want runners to enjoy the day, we will be encouraging everyone to be mindful of the very sad and very special circumstances in which the event will be taking place, and encourage them to communicate their respect in whichever way they feel appropriate.

“Details of all changes will be directly communicated to participants across the weekend in due course.”