Great North Run

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Great North Run
Great North Run.svg
Great North Run logo
Date September annually
Location Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields, United Kingdom
Event type Road
Distance Half marathon
Official site

The Bupa Great North Run is the second largest half marathon in the world, taking place annually in North East England each September.[1][2] Participants run between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields in the county of Tyne and Wear. The run was devised by former Olympic 10,000 m bronze medallist and BBC Sport commentator Brendan Foster along with local man William Rowe. William Rowe was himself an amateur long distance runner and well known in the community of South Shields. William was later awarded a CBE for services.

The first Great North Run was staged on 28 June 1981, when 12,000 runners participated. By 2011, the number of participants had risen to 54,000. For the first year it was advertised as a local fun run; nearly thirty years on it has become one of the biggest running events in the world, and the biggest in the UK. Only the London Marathon (Britain's second biggest road race every year since 1981) comes close to attracting similar numbers of athletes each year.

The 1992 edition of the race incorporated the 1st IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Martin Mathathi holds the current men's course record with his run of 58:56 minutes in 2011. Paula Radcliffe's women's course record of 65:40 minutes, set in 2003, stood as the world record for the distance for four years.


The Great North Run is a mass participation event: two lines of runners merging near the one mile mark.

The run was devised by former Olympic 10,000 m bronze medallist and BBC Sport commentator Brendan Foster and local South Shields William Rowe. Foster was inspired after running in the Round the Bays Race in New Zealand in 1979, and has built upon the Great North Run with a series of other Great Run road races.

The first Great North Run was staged on 28 June 1981, when 12,000 runners participated. By 2003, the number of participants had risen to 47,000. The 2011 event saw an announced field of 54,000. The number of finishers was 35,777 in 2007, the largest half marathon and the 13th largest running race that year.[3] Note: The Göteborgsvarvet (Gothenburg Half Marathon) on 16 May 2009 had a total of 40,523 finishing runners and is since then the world's largest half-marathon.

Bupa has been title partner of the Great North Run since the early 1990s, one of Britain’s longest ever sports sponsorship agreements.

In the 2005 Great North Run, the race celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Events to mark the anniversary included the launch of the Great North Run Cultural Programme at the Sage Gateshead.

The 2005 race was started by Mike McLeod, the winner of the inaugural race in 1981 who went on to win a silver medal in the 10,000 metres at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

On race day itself, four participants died en route to South Shields.[4]

An inquest into the four deaths from 2005 began on Monday 5 June 2006 at Gateshead Council Chambers. In subsequent events, more emergency service personnel were brought in to ensure there was adequate cover.

In spite of increased medical provision at the 2006 race, a man in his twenties died.[5]

The 2007 Great North Run was held on 30 September and was started by former England and Newcastle United manager Sir Bobby Robson. Kara Goucher defeated Paula Radcliffe in an impressive victory for the American. Goucher's winning time was 1:06:57.

The 2008 Great North Run was held on 5 October and was started by former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair.

The 2009 Great North Run was held on 20 September and was started by the musician Sting.

The 2010 Great North Run was the 30th running of the event and was held on 19 September and was started by TV presenters Ant & Dec. The number of finishers (half marathon only) was 39,459.[6]

The 2011 Great North Run took place on the morning of Sunday, 18 September 2011. The race was started by World 5,000 metre champion Mo Farah.[7]

In 2013 the 33rd Great North Run had 56000 participants, most of whom were raising money for charity. The elite races had Olympic Gold Medalists and World Champion long distance runners participating including in the men's race, Mo Farah, Kenenisa Bekele and a regular supporter of the event, Haile Gebrselassie. Ethiopian Bekele won the men's event just ahead of Farah. Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo came first the women's race and multi Olympic Gold Medalist David Weir won the wheelchair event.[8] The founder of the event, Brendan Foster is reported to be looking forward to 2014 when the Great North Run have its millionth finisher – becoming the first International Athletics Association Event (IAAF) event in the world to reach such a milestone.[9]

Past winners[edit]

Runners taking part in 2006
Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher heading the pack in the 2007 race

Key:       Course record

Edition Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
1st 1981  Mike McLeod (GBR) 1:03:23  Karen Goldhawk (GBR) 1:17:36
2nd 1982  Mike McLeod (GBR) 1:02:44  Margaret Lockley (GBR) 1:19:24
3rd 1983  Carlos Lopes (POR) 1:02:46  Julie Barleycorn (GBR) 1:16:39
4th 1984  Øyvind Dahl (NOR) 1:04:36  Grete Waitz (NOR) 1:10:27
5th 1985  Steve Kenyon (GBR) 1:02:44  Rosa Mota (POR) 1:09:54
6th 1986  Michael Musyoki (KEN) 1:00:43  Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:09:45
7th 1987  Rob de Castella (AUS) 1:02:04  Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:10:00
8th 1988  John Treacy (IRL) 1:01:00  Grete Waitz (NOR) 1:08:49
9th 1989  El Mostafa Nechchadi (MAR) 1:02:39  Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:10:43
10th 1990  Steve Moneghetti (AUS) 1:00:34  Rosa Mota (POR) 1:09:33
11th 1991  Benson Masya (KEN) 1:00:28  Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR) 1:10:57
12th 1992  Benson Masya (KEN) 1:00:24  Liz McColgan (GBR) 1:08:53
13th 1993  Moses Tanui (KEN) 59:47  Tegla Loroupe (KEN) 1:12:55
14th 1994  Benson Masya (KEN) 1:00:02  Rosanna Munerotto (ITA) 1:11:29
15th 1995  Moses Tanui (KEN) 1:00:39  Liz McColgan (GBR) 1:11:42
16th 1996  Benson Masya (KEN) 1:01:43  Liz McColgan (GBR) 1:10:28
17th 1997  Hendrick Ramaala (RSA) 1:00:25  Lucia Subano (KEN) 1:09:24
18th 1998  Josia Thugwane (RSA) 1:02:32  Sonia O'Sullivan (IRL) 1:11:50
19th 1999  John Mutai (KEN) 1:00:52  Joyce Chepchumba (KEN) 1:09:07
20th 2000  Phaustin Baha Sulle (TAN) 1:01:57  Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 1:07:07
21st 2001  Paul Tergat (KEN) 1:00:30  Susan Chepkemei (KEN) 1:08:40
22nd 2002  Paul Malakwen Kosgei (KEN) 59:58  Sonia O'Sullivan (IRL) 1:07:19
23rd 2003  Hendrick Ramaala (RSA) 1:00:01  Paula Radcliffe (GBR) 1:05:40
24th 2004  Dejene Berhanu (ETH) 59:37  Benita Johnson (AUS) 1:07:55
25th 2005  Zersenay Tadese (ERI) 59:05  Derartu Tulu (ETH) 1:07:33
26th 2006  Hendrick Ramaala (RSA) 1:01:03  Berhane Adere (ETH) 1:10:03
27th 2007  Martin Lel (KEN) 1:00:08  Kara Goucher (USA) 1:06:57
28th 2008  Tsegaye Kebede (ETH) 59:45  Gete Wami (ETH) 1:08:51
29th 2009  Martin Lel (KEN) 59:32  Jéssica Augusto (POR) 1:09:08
30th 2010  Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 59:33  Berhane Adere (ETH) 1:08:49
31st 2011  Martin Mathathi (KEN) 58:56  Lucy Wangui (KEN) 1:07:06
32nd 2012  Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich (KEN) 59:06  Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 1:07:35
33rd 2013  Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 1:00:09  Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 1:05:45

Wheelchair race[edit]

Edition Year Men's winner Time (h:m:s) Women's winner Time (h:m:s)
1981  Alan Robinson (GBR) 1:28:54
1982  Alan Robinson (GBR) 1:32:00
1983  John Grant (GBR) 1:17:16  Maria Dodsworth (GBR) 2:27:29
1984  Terry Clark (GBR) 1:10:28  Ellen Hodgson (GBR) 2:50:42
1985  Mark Tong (GBR) 1:17:18  Anne Graham (GBR) 2:26:53
1986  Chris Hallam (GBR) 1:01:15  Karen Davidson (GBR) 1:13:04
1987  Chris Hallam (GBR) 56:37  Karen Davidson (GBR) 1:19:55
1988  David Holding (GBR) 57:57  Josie Cichockyj (GBR) 1:37:38
1989  Chris Hallam (GBR) 1:01:40  Eileen Dixon (GBR) 2:06:54
1990  Chris Hallam (GBR) 56:32  Tanni Grey (GBR) 1:05:08
1991  David Holding (GBR) 47:24  Tanni Grey (GBR) 1:00:22
1992  David Holding (GBR) 50:21  Tanni Grey (GBR) 59:21
1993  Ivan Newman (GBR) 54:11  Rose Hill (GBR) 58:00
1994  David Holding (GBR) 50:33  Rose Hill (GBR) 1:00:41
1995  Jack McKenna (GBR) 52:16  Tanni Grey (GBR) 58:44
1996  David Holding (GBR) 49:17  Tanni Grey (GBR) 57:17
1997  David Holding (GBR) 44:22  Tanni Grey (GBR) 52:17
1998  Hadj Lahmar (GBR) 53:47  Tanni Grey (GBR) 1:10:58
1999  Hadj Lahmar (GBR) 49:57  Tanni Grey (GBR) 1:02:32
2000  Kevin Papworth (GBR) 49:18  Sarah Piercey (GBR) 1:13:32
2001  Tushar Patel (GBR) 48:10  Gunilla Wallengren (SWE) 52:59
2002  Tushar Patel (GBR) 48:46  Gunilla Wallengren (SWE) 57:47
2003  David Weir (GBR) 45:41  Gunilla Wallengren (SWE) 53:04
2004  Kenny Herriot (GBR) 45:37  Gunilla Wallengren (SWE) 52:14
2005  David Weir (GBR) 42:33  Shelly Woods (GBR) 50:04
2006  Kurt Fearnley (AUS) 42:39  Diane Roy (CAN) 50:33
2007  Ernst Van Dyk (RSA) 42:35  Shelly Woods (GBR) 50:33
2008  Josh Cassidy (CAN) 44:10  Diane Roy (CAN) 51:18
2009  David Weir (GBR) 41:34  Amanda McGrory (USA) 49:47
2010  David Weir (GBR) 44:49  Shelly Woods (GBR) 52:59
2011  Josh Cassidy (CAN) 43:57  Shelly Woods (GBR) 50:14
2012  Josh Cassidy (CAN) 43:18  Jane Egan (GBR) 1:15:00
2013  David Weir (GBR) 43:06  Shelly Woods (GBR) 54:28

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BBC Sport - Jo Pavey and Mara Yamauchi back for the Great North Run". BBC News (London: BBC). 17 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "Sold out in the GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon". Göteborgsvarvet. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Running USA - RRIC World's Largest Races
  4. ^ Four men die in Great North Run, BBC News, 18 September 2005.
  5. ^ Tragedy hits 26th Great North Run, BBC News report on the 29 year old, unnamed Yorkshire man who died in the 2006 run.
  6. ^ The highest overall position number for a runner, when searching the results on
  7. ^ "BUPA Great North Run @ Newcastle – Gateshead, UK, 18th September 2011". 24 Hour Trading Ltd. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Great North Run: Mo Farah narrowly beaten as thousands run". British Broadcasting Corp. 15 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Kelly, Mike (16 September 2013). "Great North Run: The event that continues to give". The Journal. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 

External links[edit]