The Bupa Great North Run, in which participants run between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields, is the world’s most popular half-marathon competition. Only the London Marathon comes close to its popularity and success. This year, it will take place on Sunday the 18th of September. If you are already thinking of taking part and need a hotel, check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Newcastle.
The Great North Run was created by Olympic medalist and BBC Sport commentator Brendan Foster in 1981, inspired after running a similar race in New Zealand. At that time, it was a simple local fun run, but has since become one of the biggest races in the world. In 2010, the thirtieth anniversary of the run, there were over 50,000 starters. The winner of that race, Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie had promised founder Brendan Foster that he’d compete in the event’s 30th anniversary. Gebrselassie disappointed no one with his spectacular running, leading from around halfway through the race and finishing almost two minutes ahead of the second place runner.
For the last eighteen years, the health care corporation Bupa has been the Great North Run’s major supporter, making it one of Britain’s longest sports sponsorship agreements. The race raises millions of pounds for a wide range of outstanding and deserving charities. Many of these charities make up the race’s fifteen “Bands on the Run” cheering points to help motivate and entertain runners throughout the face. The charities involved are Diabetes UK, the Cancer Research UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Stroke Association, Macmillan Cancer Support, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, Oxfam, Kidney Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Society, Guide Dogs, Children with Cancer UK, and Cancer Research UK. Additionally, the Bupa Boost Zone will give runners water and candy to provide them with an extra push at the 10-mile point.
Runners can take advantage of three pick-up points, located at 8½, 9½, and 10¾ miles. They can be escorted to the finish line in mini-buses if they choose to pull out of the race. Bottled water is available at the race’s Start and will be offered at 3, 5½, 8, 11½, and at the Finish. Sports drinks will also be provided at 4½ and 10 miles, and at the Finish. These drinks will be offered from both sides of the road, and are spaced out evenly over about 80 metres.