Participants run between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields. The run was devised by former Olympic 10,000 metre bronze medallist and BBC Sport commentator Brendan Foster.
The first Great North Run was staged on 28th June 1981, when 12,000 runners participated. By 2011, the number of participants had risen to 54,000. For the first year.
it was advertised as a local fun run; nearly thirty years on, it has become one of the biggest running events in the world, and the biggest in the UK.
Ilkley- based Auditel Cost Management Specialist Paul Wilkes, 24, decided to run this year on 16th September, aiming to raise £500 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Paul says: “I had no previous running experience when I entered. The first run I went on was 1.6miles and I was destroyed! However, I figured I'd get more donations if I did something I didn't want to do, so I have been training since February to conquer the Great North Run.
Anyone who has ever shared a football pitch with me will know that I used to struggle to run for thirteen minutes, let alone the thirteen miles from Newcastle to South Shields!
“In October 2009, Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance saved my uncle Myk's life when he fell off a roof. Subsequently, I joined him on a 13 mile charity walk in 2010 when he had recovered. This inspired me and I wanted to do something to raise some money for the Air Ambulance in my own region. Their work to help save lives is entirely paid for by charitable donations. To keep their helicopters in the air £7,200 per day is needed. Since their launch in 2000, they have flown over 4,300 patients directly to hospitals across the region. I was astonished to find out that somehow such a crucial lifesaving service gets no government funding.”
“The day before the race I passed my fundraising target of £500. I was delighted and knew this would spur me on to do well. I was so grateful to everyone for helping sponsor Yorkshire Air Ambulance. In my training, I had been running at ten minutes per mile so I was aiming to finish the 13.1mile course in 2 hours 11 minutes.
When I started, I realised this would be hard, as dodging through the congested crowds to keep up my pace was taking its toll. However, I powered through, stayed dedicate and finished it in a personal best time of 2 hours 5 minutes 51 seconds. To date I have raised over £750.”