Great North Run awarded prestigious World Athletics Heritage Award

Great North Run awarded World Athletics Heritage Award

The Great North Run has been awarded the prestigious World Athletics Heritage Plaque.

Launched by World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe, the award is in recognition of ‘an outstanding contribution to the worldwide history and development of the sport.’

Sir Brendan Foster, Founder and President of The Great Run Company, said: “It is fantastic that the Great North Run is being recognised by World Athletics Heritage for its contribution to mass participation road running.

“This accolade is only awarded to truly great athletes, stadia and events, and so we are profoundly honoured that the Great North Run is now among this select group.

“It’s recognition of 40+ years dedication to making it a truly world class event that stands apart from all others.  Along the way we have welcomed the sport’s greatest athletes alongside over 1.25m runners. We captured the imagination of our runners and the North East region, who year on year join us to do something extraordinary.

“60,000 runners take part in the Great North Run each year, travelling from every UK postcode and across the globe, and our attention is set on delivering another spectacular event on September 8. 

“With just a few days left to enter this year’s Great North Run ballot, we hope this prestigious recognition encourages more people to enter and be a part of Great North Run history.”

Lord Seb Coe, President of World Athletics, said: “I am delighted that World Athletics is recognising the Great North Run with the World Athletics Heritage Plaque for its contribution to the worldwide history and development of running.

“The Great North Run, founded by Sir Brendan Foster in 1981, quickly established itself as one of the world’s largest running events. In 2014 it celebrated its millionth finisher! The race which annually raises millions for charities cemented its international reputation by hosting the inaugural World Half Marathon Championships in 1992.

“The Great North Run exemplifies excellence, attracting many of the world’s greatest runners including Liz McColgan, Tegla Loroupe, Paula Radcliffe, Carlos Lopes, Haile Gebrselassie, and Mo Farah, to name but a very few.

“Congratulations to Brendan and his team for their continued outstanding work for our sport.”

Chris Turner, Director, Heritage Department and Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) said: “I am delighted to confirm the award of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque to the Great North Run.

“Awarded in our competition category, this honour celebrates the Great North Run’s outstanding contribution to the history and development of international elite and mass race road running since its foundation in 1981.”

Further details and the official World Athletics Heritage Plaque presentation will follow later in the year.

To experience the Great North Run, the ballot is now open and will close on Monday, 12 February 2024 at 10am. You can enter the ballot today at

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