The Great North Run has achieved another milestone in their ongoing search for a runner from every country in the world to take part in this September’s race by reaching their 150th nation this week.
The Great North Run first took place back in 1981 and has been a mainstay on the British and international road racing calendar ever since. The race became the first in the world to officially record its one millionth finisher in 2014 and is on course to achieve another world first this year courtesy of the Great World Run.
The half marathon has also been given a five-star endorsement by European Athletics Running For All.
The Great World Run initiative was launched in February with event organisers seeking to achieve a unique goal: a runner from each of the 193 United Nations member states to take part in the 13.1-mile run from Newcastle to South Shields on 11 September.
And the addition of Guatemala made it 150 for the event organisers who have called on representatives of the final 43 nations to come forward and take part in a race which has been graced by all-time distance running greats including Grete Waitz, Rosa Mota, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie.
Andorra, Macedonia, Togo and Tuvalu are among the countries remaining on the list, and organisers remain optimistic they can find a representative from each of them to create a world first at a running event.
The event organisers have launched a dedicated website to track the countries which have signed up for the Great North Run at greatrun.org/GNRWorldRun, with Togo, Iceland, Mali, Mozambique, Palau and Ivory Coast among the nations yet to be represented.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, the 13.1-mile route will carry flags from all 193 UN member states.
The Great North CityGames, Junior and Mini Great North Runs and the Great North 5k will be held on the Saturday and will be accompanied by a food festival with dishes from around the world, on offer to enhance the international theme of this year’s event.
There will be interactive digital and social media elements leading up to and on the day of the event using the hashtag #GNRWorldRun.
All applicants will be requested to supply proof of their nationality before being accepted into the event, and a dedicated email address – firstname.lastname@example.org - has been set up to handle enquiries from anyone who could be eligible.
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