The Great North Run has launched an initiative to feature a participant from every country in the world – and members of the North East public have been called upon to help organisers achieve the goal.
The Great Run Company aims to recruit at least one runner born in every member state of the United Nations – a total of 193 countries – to take part in the iconic event. There are 196 countries in the world and 193 of them are part of the United Nations.
So far, runners from 125 countries have registered, with another 68 required to complete the ambitious plan – and Great Run have called upon members of the general public to help fill in the gaps.
Mark Hollinshead, Great Run chief executive, said: “Last year we had runners from every single postcode in the UK, which makes it Britain’s biggest and favourite run.
“By inviting participants from every single country on the planet, it will reassert its credentials as the world’s favourite run.
“We’re inviting the people of the United Kingdom to help us find those runners which will make it a spectacular event.
“It’s an event that over its history has celebrated lots of firsts, including the greatest road race in history in 2013 with Kenenisa Bekele, Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie, and the first event in the world to have a million finishers.
“This year, we’ll hopefully celebrate the fact that there’s someone born in every country on the planet in one place, on one day, in the same event which will make it a world first.”
Out of 100,000 applicants, more than 57,000 participants have already been accepted to run in the 36th edition of the event, which will take place on September, 11.
Jessica Errington, 19, from Newcastle, who participated in the half-marathon in 2015, said: “It felt amazing, the atmosphere was incredible. Everyone was so happy to be doing something so good for charity, and it felt really good to be part of that.
“I think it would be brilliant if they could (get a participant from every UN country), but I don’t know how they would achieve that. I wouldn’t know if the Great North Run is a worldwide known event, and without that publicity it would be difficult to fulfil their goal.
“However, I really hope I am wrong and their goal is achieved. It would be very special.”
The Great North Run was staged for the first time in 1981, when more than 12 000 people took part.
In 2014, Tracey Cramond, from County Durham, was the millionth runner to cross the finish line.
It has been found that 52% of visitors attending the event left with a more positive view of the region than before they arrived and 93% rated it as a good or excellent place to visit.
All applicants will be requested to supply proof of their nationality before being accepted into the event. Prospective participants can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any enquires.
To find out more about the World’s Favourite Run campaign, visit greatrun.org or contact on social media using #GNRWorldRun.