The Great Run Company has once again seen huge demand for entries into the ballot for the 2023 AJ Bell Great North Run.
Entries have returned to pre-pandemic levels despite the current cost of living crisis and the difficulties faced by the mass participation sports market following the pandemic.
The event, which confirmed a new title partnership with leading investment platform AJ Bell in January, has demonstrated an enduring popularity; engaging new audiences, alongside die-hard fans, for over 40 years.
61% of those entering the ballot this year, did so for the first time ever. Long distance running has seen something of a revival with younger demographics in recent years and 10% of those applying this year were under 25.
Keen runners are also now more likely to take up running later in life and continue running for longer. 31% of those entering this year were over 46.
Despite being firmly rooted in the fabric and culture of North East life, the event has a resolutely national profile, with runners from all postcode areas of the UK represented on the start line. Over 538 runners from 47 countries were prepared to travel to the North East should they be successful in the draw.
Founder of the Great North Run, Sir Brendan Foster, said: “We were delighted to see such a high level of interest in the AJ Bell Great North Run this year, especially given the challenges we’re facing as a country.
“When times are tough, it’s sometimes important to remind yourself of the good in the world, and nowhere is that more evident than at the AJ Bell Great North Run.
“Seeing people from all over the country, and around the world, line up together with a common purpose and sense of camaraderie is a humbling experience.
“We know so many of those runners are also out there to raise funds for charity and support good causes, which in turn are providing a life line to more people than ever before.”
Chief Executive of The Great Run Company, Paul Foster, said: “This surge in entries is a testament to the enduring popularity of the event and the resilience of the running community.
“The AJ Bell Great North Run is a North East institution and has a positive economic impact on the regional economy of around £31 million. Runners also raise around £25 million for charities and good causes every year.
“We know things are difficult for a lot of households at the minute, so we’re grateful so many people see the value in taking part in the event and the importance of supporting charities through their participation.”
For those who were unsuccessful in the ballot, places are still available through over 600 charities. To find out how more visit greatrun.org/north.