After succeeding in becoming the first ever competitive race to record one million finishers two years ago, the Great North Run has set its sights on an ambitious new project. The event is looking to become the first to have runners from all 193 United Nation member states take part on Sunday 11 September.
Now established as the world’s largest half marathon, the Great North Run sees 57,000 runners enter the north east classic. Starting in Newcastle, the course takes in the iconic Tyne Bridge, goes through Gateshead passing the famous international athletics stadium and finishes in the coastal town of South Shields.
As it stands, 125 of the total number of entrants are from different countries, meaning a further 68 will be required for the race to hit its target. A quick glance at just some of the countries missing from the list - Bhutan, Djibouti, Kiribati, and Tuvalu - shows the scale of the plan ahead.
Great Run chief executive, Mark Hollinshead, and race founder Brendan Foster revealed the plan earlier this week, with Hollinshead hoping that UK runners will be able to assist in the search: “By inviting participants from every single country on the planet, it will reassert its credentials as the world's favourite run. We're inviting the people of the United Kingdom to help us find those runners which will make it a spectacular event."
A dedicated email address has been set up for any enquiries about eligible runners.