Great North Run organisers set to raise £250,000 for NHS coronavirus appeal with virtual challenges
The 40th Great North Run will not be celebrated as planned this year due to the coronavirus pandemic – but that hasn’t stopped the event’s organisers.
A virtual Great North Run has amassed over 20,000 entries in just three weeks and organisers believe it is the biggest virtual running challenge launched by an individual event in the UK.
The Great Run Solo is another running challenge set up by Great Run which has taken the total combined entries to 30,000 with the two events expected to raise £250,000 for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.
The combined fundraising total stands at over £200,000 and this is expected to rise to a quarter of a million in the coming weeks.
Great Run Solo was initially introduced in May to provide running challenges to keep people active during the lockdown period, and Great North Run Solo was formed to celebrate the 40th staging of the world's largest half marathon after its cancellation due to the public health crisis caused by coronavirus.
Both continue to raise vital funds for the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal, with all profits going to the charity, which meets the immediate needs of patients, staff and volunteers affected by the virus.
Launched on the Sunday, June 28 – the anniversary of the first-ever Great North Run – Great North Run Solo challenges runners to complete 40 runs up until Sunday, September 13; the day the 40th event was scheduled to take place.
It is part of a wider campaign called Great North Run Reimagined, providing runners with two virtual running propositions; Great North Run Solo to take them through what would have been the traditional training period and the Official Virtual Great North Run to give an on the day virtual race experience - with more details to be announced in the coming weeks.
Paul Foster, chief executive of The Great Run Company said: “Even though the Great North Run won’t take place on the ground, we still have thousands of people who want to celebrate this iconic event and we’re thrilled that so many people have entered the Great North Run Solo virtual running challenge.
“We believe it is the biggest virtual running challenge that has been launched by a single event in the UK during the coronavirus pandemic – if not ever.
"Coupled with the entries from the Great Run Solo challenge, it is set to raise up to a quarter of a million pounds for the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal, giving back to our heroes in the NHS.
“From the solo training runs to the virtual event itself, the entire Great North Run Reimagined campaign will provide an experience as close as possible to the real thing and give everyone an opportunity to still commemorate the event in 2020.”
Those taking part in the Great North Run Solo can run any pace or distance they’re comfortable with and everyone who completes the challenge will receive a special edition medal.
The challenge costs £10 to join, and all profits will go to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.
To find out more and enter visit greatrun.org/north