The History of the Great North Run


The Simplyhealth Great North Run is one of the biggest running events in the world.

Enriched in history and growing year-on-year, the half-marathon, the largest in England we might add, is a fantastic event taking place right here on our doorstep.

With the countdown on and the run just over a month away – we thought we’d look back at the history of the event to see how such a wonderful occasion became what it is now.

Going right back to the start, 38 years ago to be precise – the first Great North Run took place. Brendan Foster – former 10,000m Olympic Bronze medallist and current BBC athletics pundit – founded the event after feeling inspired from races he witnessed in New Zealand; particularly the Round the Bays race – the largest fun run in the country.

The date was the 28th June 1981 and 12,000 runners took to the starting line – a lot more than expected and over 10,000 went on to finish it. Now, we know 12,000 is a great number of participants regardless, but when comparing to more recent years, we can see just how much the event has grown. In 2011 the figure of runners stood at 54,000! A huge scale up!

The winner that day was Mike McLeod – a British athlete who also won Silver at the 1984 Olympics, crossed the line in 1:03:23 to claim the first ever Great North Run title.

The route takes place throughout Newcastle, starting on the A167 Road before runners head down the motorway through Gateshead before finishing up along the seafront in South Shields. There have been many high profile runners and a number of records broken; currently the faster men’s running time is held by Kenyan, Martin Mathathi who crossed the line in JUST 58:56. For the women, the fastest time recorded is held by fellow Kenyan, Mary Jepkosgei Keitany who completed the course in 1:05:39.

National hero Sir Mo Farah currently holds the record for the number of consecutive, along with Tanni Grey-Thompson and will look to extend this at this year’s event as he recently announced he will be taking part.

So there you go – a little bit of a background and history of one of the biggest running events of the year; THE GREAT NORTH RUN – the race takes place this September and again will bring a great atmosphere to Newcastle with people from a variety of backgrounds challenging themselves to complete the half-marathon – we can not wait; it’s going to be FANTASTIC.

If you’re running at this year’s event, DON’T FORGET we have several different running services to help YOU not only finish the race but SMASH THAT PB. Our amazing team of qualified and experienced therapists will provide sound advice and excellent techniques that can help you for your run!

If you are interested why not enquire today?

You can either call us on 0191 233 0500 or email us at [email protected] – either way we will be happy to help you and will make sure you get the best outcome for your goals!