The Great North Run – looking good 36 years on

If you have decided to make 2017 the year to step up your fitness game, you might be considering taking part in the Great North Run, which is the world’s largest half marathon. 2017’s GNR takes place on September 17th, in its hometown of Newcastle, and is open to anyone aged 17 or over.

Olympic medalist Brendan Foster came up with the idea of the Great North Run, and launched the first GNR in 1981, with 12,000 enthusiastic runners ready to complete what was simply billed as a local fun run. Thirty years later, 54,000 people were participating, making it one of the running world’s most popular events.

With a limited number of places on offer, you’ve got to act quickly if you want to take part. Even though there’s another six months until the run, this year’s general entry is closed, but don’t be put off if you want to take part – you can still enter if you’re running on behalf of a selected charity. Have a look at the Great North Run’s website for charities who can accept people to run for them. Do expect to be asked to raise a minimum amount of money in sponsorship though. As an example, Mind asks its runners to pay a £25 registration fee, and collect a minimum of £300 sponsorship, of which half must be sent to Mind before the race.

Just as famous for its scenery as its history, the GNR’s 13.1 mile course starts in the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne, on Claremont Road near the RVI. Runners head towards the city centre, crossing the city’s iconic Tyne Bridge into Gateshead, and heading on to South Shields, where they get a fantastic sea view. There’s an interactive map at https://www.goodrunguide.co.uk/RouteMap/Races/13577. Spectators make the race a truly uplifting event, cheering runners on along the course. Keep eyes and ears open for the Red Arrows flying overhead, and the bands playing at points along the course. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running as an elite athlete, or just to boost the coffers of your favourite charity – hitting the final downhill stretch is a euphoric experience for everyone.

You’re just as likely to see a celebrity or famous athlete in the GNR as you are to see an amateur runner. Some of the world’s most famous athletes have taken part in the GNR – Mo Farah (who’s won every year since 2014), Paula Radcliffe, and wheelchair athlete David Weir are all regular sights at the starting line. Some of Newcastle’s biggest names can be found wielding the starting pistol too. Sting, Bobby Robson, and Ant and Dec have all started the race in previous years.

With all these famous faces, you’re going to need to do something spectacular to make yourself stand out, and a great choice is an outfit which lets people know who you are, and what you’re running for. The Chronicle put together a gallery of their favourite costumes from the last 30 years which you can see at http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/gallery/great-north-run-best-costumes-5872467. If you decide that fancy dress isn’t for you, you might want to consider a printed t-shirt with your own name and message. Tell the world why you’re running, or just say hello to your mum if the cameras catch you. A unique, personalised t-shirt or printed vest is sure to put a smile on your face, and those of your fellow runners, keeping you motivated during the run, and giving you a one of a kind memento of your day for years to come.

If you’re ready to take on the Great North Run, we’d love to hear from you at www.personalisedandprinted.com. We can help you with personalised clothing which will have you looking fantastic as you cross the finish line in your charity t-shirts.

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