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28 October 2014

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Great North Run

Tyne Bridge
The Tyne Bridge

Great North Run

The final preparations are well underway for the Great North Run 2004 on Sunday 26 September between Newcastle to South Shields.

Fact file

The first run was on 28 June 1981 with 12,000 runners. Now 47,000 runners take part - with many more thousands unable to get an entry.

In 2002, 25 different countries were represented.

Doctors estimate that more than 11.5 million breaths will be taken by the runners in the course of the race.

The average age of the runners is 35 years and 7 months.

48,000 metres of heat retaining silver foil wil be wrapped around the runners at the end of the race.

If all the Great North Runners stood head to toe, their combined height would be ten times the height of Mount Everest.

About 18 miles of cloth is used to make the BUPA Great North Run souvenir T-shirts.

In 2001 Great North runners raised approximately £8 million for charity.

A team of six from the British Virgin Islands will have travelled a combined total of 96,000 miles before they even cross the start line.

Kevin Keegan once ran the Great North Run wearing the red and white stripes of Sunderland and the black and white stripes of Newcastle United.

Soccer star Paul Gascoigne once pushed a wheelchair athlete all the way round the Great North Run circuit.

Now in its 24th year the North East of England has played host to more than half a million runners as they tackle the now famous route from Newcastle to the coast at South Shields.

From the world’s great runners competing for a place on the winners' rostrum, to the thousands of people who raise millions of pounds for charity every year, the BUPA Great North Run is established as Britain’s biggest running event.

The run is the biggest half marathon in the world with over 47,000 people taking part.

The 13.1 mile route starts north of the River Tyne near Newcastle city centre and finishes in South Shields.

As well as the elite men and women race, the wheelchair athletes will be competing and there's also the fun run. Even the Junior Great North Run attracts over 6,000 children.

The course record was clocked by Kenyan Benson Masya in 1994 when he finished in 60 minutes 2 seconds.

Water, water!

There are five refreshment points on the route at either side of the road at 4 and a quarter miles, 5 and three quarter miles, 8 and a half miles, 10 miles and 11 and a  half miles and of course at the finish. Bottled water will be available at them all.

Where to see the action

The best place to see the action is at the finish as there is so much going on down there plus you can be there to see your relatives once they finish, however spectators can stand anywhere along the route.


The normal car parks are open in Newcastle and South Shields. The organisers don't have any control over taking them purely for Great North Runners.
There will be some parking at the Leas at Shields (Note: one car park there is for VIP guests etc) but this would be purely chance if anyone could get in here.
For the latest details on the roads use the BBC travel service.


General advice: First things first, make sure you've got a good pair of trainers that fit you properly. It's worth going to a running specialist and getting them professionally fitted.

If you're a first-timer then just build up the time of your jogs as you feel comfortable.

Keep the boredom factor out if it by varying your training routine. Go for a swim, or try attending an aerobics class as well as running.

Make sure you warm up and cool down with a good stretching routine before and after runs.

If you've got a cold or don't feel well then don't go out training, and don't expect too much from yourself when you get back out there.

If you're suffering from an injury do not go out running - you need to give the injury time to heal.

If you suffer from repeated minor injuries see a doctor or sports injury specialist.

last updated: 02/08/04
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