Over one million people have completed the Great North Run since the event launched in 1981, with more than 40,000 people running the race each year. And all of them will have enjoyed the unique experience of crossing the Tyne Bridge with the unrivalled support of the people of Gateshead and Newcastle, who line every inch of the route south of the river on the way to South Shields.
With such an enormous number of race places you might think it’d be easy to get a place. Don’t be fooled. Such is the popularity of the Great North Run that you have to enter a ballot and cross your fingers if you want to run this half marathon.
The 2020 lottery is open now until 9pm on Sunday 9th February, with the results of the draw announced by email on or before Friday 14th February.
Enter the ballot on the Great North Run website, where you will be required to give payment details for the £58 race entry, but this will only be taken from your account if you are awarded a spot.
If you enter the draw but later realise you can’t run the race on Sunday 13th September for any reason (hey, it happens to the best of us), you can email the Great Run team (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let them know you’d like to be withdrawn from the ballot. Naturally, you’ll need to do this before the ballot closes and the draw process begins – the deadline for withdrawing your entry is noon on Friday 7th February. Otherwise you’ll have to pay if your ballot entry is successful.
There are a couple of other ways to take part in the Great North Run if you aren’t drawn in the ballot. The first is to run for a good cause. You can apply for a charity place by checking the website for the full list of organisations that have places in the race.
Missing out on a place in the Great North Run is always a downer, since it’s a race with a truly unique atmosphere, but it’s worth remembering there are plenty of other epic half marathons you can run in the UK in 2020.
On the same weekend as the Great North Run there is the Richmond RUNFEST in London, which features a 5K and a 10K on the Saturday, and a half marathon and a marathon on the Sunday. The half marathon is both pleasingly flat and wonderfully scenic, starting in Kew Gardens and following the banks of the Thames for much of the course.
Meanwhile, if you’re dead set on running a point of the compass, then the Great East Run in Suffolk is also a half marathon and takes place on 20th September, a week after the Great North Run.