27 Jul

Brendan Foster’s Life In Athletics To Air

Brendan Foster

This Saturday afternoon will see BBC One pay homage to one of Britain’s most popular and influential figures in athletics, Brendan Foster. The programme, which airs at 13:15pm, comes as Foster prepares to retire from his commentary role with the BBC after this summer’s World Championships.


Foster enjoyed a successful career in distance running, competing in three separate Olympic Games, taking bronze over 10,000 in 1976 in Montreal and at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. In a move that changed the face of competitive racing in the UK, Foster launched the Great North Run in 1981.

The race was launched after Foster competed in the Round the Bays event in New Zealand two years earlier, and, since then, it has established itself as the most popular half marathon in the world with upwards of 50,000. Last year, North East Council underlined Foster’s importance to the North East by awarding him Freedom of the City.

Saturday’s programme, Brendan Foster: A Life in Athletics, follows the runner’s rise from folk hero to national icon and detail a commentary career that began in 1980 and covered nine Olympic Games for the BBC.

A short preview of the show is available via the Great North Run Facebook page and, included within the tributes paid to Foster, is a young boy saying very succinctly: “He’s a Geordie, and he’s Great.”