Bupa is set to launch a weekly, free spin-off to their Great Run Series in an attempt to attract even more people to the sport. The initiative, which will be known as the Great Run Local, is set to be launched across Britain after the success of a recent pilot scheme in Manchester.
Like parkrun, the Great Run Local will be free to enter, although it will include a 2k event in addition to the 5k distance. News of the new event arrived in tandem with the introduction of Bupa’s Great Run Training, which will allow participants to interactively chart their progression through a website and smartphone app.
Brendan Foster, who launched the initiative, said the legacy of London 2012 has been integral to the formation of the Great Run Local: "London 2012 organised the best Games ever, London 2012 inspired people across the nation and the world. Inspiration leading to activity is organic. It’s like a tree: you plant it and it grows. After London, the ground’s more fertile, so our project – which is Olympic-inspired – is actually growing. It’s growing quickly since 2012. The inspiration of London 2012 will propel us forward to 2020."
The Great Run Series, which includes races in Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Manchester, attracts more than 200,000 participants through its various events. This year, the Great North Run will become the first race to reach the significant milestone of having 1 million finishers.
Foster feels this experience and the enduring appeal of the Great Run Series will ensure the success of the new spin-off: "If you think this is a message that you’ve heard before, I would suggest to you that you haven’t heard this message before from people who know what they’re talking about. We’ve got a track record of doing what we say we’re going to do. We’re not politicians.”