Great North Run cancelled due to coronavirus

Organisers of the Great North Run have announced that this year's event has been cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

It sees hundreds of people from Cumbria and the south of Scotland flock to the north east to take part every year.

The 13.1-mile route - which starts in Newcastle and ends in South Shields - is the biggest half-marathon in the world.

It was set to mark its 40th year, but it is now scheduled to take place on September 12, 2021 instead.

Organisers say runners who had a place will be given the option to roll it over to next year, or get a refund of their entry fee.

Paul Foster, Chief Executive of The Great Run Company: “We’re sorry that we’ve had to cancel the Great North Run. We haven’t taken the decision lightly. The event raises over £25m for charity, and is an important day in the North East calendar.

“Over the past few months we worked hard to try and find a way to stage the Great North Run while observing social distancing rules, and most importantly, not impacting on our local NHS. We also looked at holding the Great North Run later in the year.

“However, as things stand, and even as the situation improves, it’s not going to be possible to meet these goals with any certainty, and so we have concluded that the best course of action is to cancel.

“I’d like to thank our partners at Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside Councils, and especially our medical teams working in North East NHS Trusts for their support in trying to find a way to stage the Great North Run this year.”

“Despite not being able to stage the event as planned we are exploring ways to mark the occasion and hope to be able to share our plans soon.”