A week ago Supermarket giant Morrisons were revealed as the new sponsor of the Great North Run.
This is fantastic news, which comes as a huge relief after Bupa revealed it was pulling out of backing the event after 22 years.
The Great Run founder and chairman Brendan Foster, from Hebburn, said the four-year agreement could help push participation into seven figures.
The broadcaster and former Olympian created the Great North Run in 1981 and it has grown to the second biggest half-marathon in the world.
He said: “We are delighted to welcome Morrisons as the title sponsor of the Great Run series and we are excited about the association between one of Britain’s biggest retailers and Britain’s biggest mass participation running series.
“Our ambition is to have a million people taking part in our Great Run programme and Morrisons are ideal partners to help us to achieve this.”
The sponsorship will cover eight locations with 12 events – including the Great North Run on September 13 – and starts with the Great Winter Run and International Cross Country in Edinburgh this weekend.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips said: “Over the last 34 years, the Great North Run has become a national institution and now with Great Runs across Britain, we believe it should be supported by a truly British sponsor.
“We have stores in more than 500 communities so we can play a big part in getting more people running with all the benefits that brings.”
Bupa pulled the plug on its 22-year sponsorship in November “to explore new ways to inspire people to live healthier lifestyles”.
Chief executive Heidi Travis said: “It’s great news that Sue Ryder is Morrisons nominated charity for the Great Run series.
“Raising money through events like these means we can continue to provide incredible hospice and neurological care and make a lasting difference to thousands of families facing the loss of a loved one.
“We have been involved in the Great Run series for over ten years and as well as raising funds, it helps to increase awareness of Sue Ryder.
Last year the Great North Run celebrated it’s millionth finisher with an event with included light shows, fireworks and music from local artists Mark Knopfler and Sting.
For more information on the Great Run visit www.greatrun.org