Coronavirus: Entries open for Virtual Great North Run

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A record 60,000 runners were set to take part in the 40th anniversary of the run

Entries are open for this year's Virtual Great North Run, which will see runners complete the half marathon anywhere in the world via an app.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the event which spans 13.1 miles (21km) between Newcastle and South Shields.

A record 60,000 people were due to take part on 13 September but it was cancelled due to coronavirus.

Organisers have stressed that runners of the free virtual event must follow government social distancing rules.

The app will highlight popular course features, use sounds from past events, motivational messages and provide distance updates.

However, runners will be unable to physically run the actual route of popular event, which takes in landmarks such as the Tyne Bridge, as it is held on closed roads which are not accessible to pedestrians at other times of the year.

Surprises for runners

Anyone can enter the run, regardless of whether they had a place for this year's event, as long as they are aged over 17.

It will start at a specific time, likely to be 10:30 BST, which will be confirmed nearer the time.

People are encouraged to raise money for charity, with the event usually raising more than £25m for good causes each year.

Paul Foster, chief executive of The Great Run Company, said: "There will be no physical Great North Run in 2020, so we decided that since we can't do it together, we will bring it to your doorstep instead.

"We really wanted to provide an experience as close as possible to the real thing.

"We've been working hard behind the scenes to provide participants with a virtual audio and running experience featuring Great North Run sounds that runners and spectators know and love, and we've thrown in a few surprises too."

Participants have already been challenged to complete 40 runs by 13 September, raising almost £250,000 for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal

People can enter the Virtual Great North Run online and entry is free.

Runners will also be able to receive a medal and other specially-created merchandise, which they can buy online.

Anyone who has not opted to roll their place over to 2021's event will receive a refund, minus a £5 administration fee.

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