Sep 05 2014

GNR: One Million Reasons for the North East to be proud!

It is thought around 20 Thousand people gathered together last night on Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside to start the countdown to the Great North Run’s millionth finisher.

The event, including light shows and fireworks, also featured music from local artists Mark Knopfler and Sting.

The millionth runner will cross the finish line of the 13.1-mile run from Newcastle to South Shields on Sunday.

Brendan Foster, who founded the run in 1981, said he was “immensely proud” it had reached its millionth participant.

Northumbria Police warned a number of roads would be closed during the event and said the Tyne Bridge would be closed from 20:30 until 22:30 BST on Thursday.

Mr Foster said: “This year we will become the first running event in the world to achieve its millionth finish.

“It is an achievement I am immensely proud of and could not have imagined when we started our Great North Run journey back in 1981

“Sunday will be a celebration, not just of running, but also for many millions of pounds that have been raised by runners over the years for good causes.”

gnr million launch 2014

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And and Dec opened the event, for which 20,000 free tickets were made available, just after 20:30 BST to the music of Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero.

The show also featured more than 700 volunteer performers and Tyneside-born actors Tim Healy and Jill Halfpenny, who narrated a heritage story written by award-winning author David Almond.

Former Police frontman Sting, who was born in Wallsend, said he was “honoured” to be asked to perform the title song from his latest album The Last Ship, along with fellow Geordie Jimmy Nail.

Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, said: “I was so thrilled to be asked to take part.

“We’re doing a musical about Tyneside, so to be asked to celebrate our community and our history together with local musicians is a great honour.”

Organisers Bupa said more than £250m had been raised for charity since the first race in 1981.

The annual half-marathon sees participants run from the Central Motorway in Newcastle, across the Tyne Bridge, down the Felling Bypass and on to the John Reid Road to the coast at South Shields.


Info from

Photo:  Paul Kingston