Everything you need to know about running the 2021 Great North Run

Jane McGuire
·5-min read

From Runner's World

It’s the biggest half marathon in the UK, but whether you’re hoping to get a last-minute charity place, or are planning on spectating at this year’s Simplyhealth Great North Run, here’s everything you need to know.

When is the 2021 Great North Run?

The 2021 Great North Run takes place on Sunday 12 September 2021.

How can I get a place in the 2021 Great North Run?

Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of the 40th version of the race in 2020 down to the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be no January ballot in 2021. Race organisers have said, 'Unsurprisingly, most people who secured a place for 2020 chose to roll it over, so the 2021 event is already at capacity'.

There are still charity places for the 2021 Great North Run - runners should head to the charity page of the race website to find out more.

How far is the Great North Run?

The Great North Run is the biggest half marathon in the UK, with a course length of 13.1 miles.

What is the route of the 2021 Great North Run?

You can see the 2021 Great North Run route map on the race website here.

What time does the Great North Run start?

The start time for the 2021 race has not yet been announced but in previous years, the Great North Run has started at 10.40 am.

What happens if the 2021 race is cancelled?

While all runners are hoping the September race will go ahead as planned for whatever reason the race is cancelled runners will be entitled to a refund, minus the £5 administrative fee.

What is the easiest way to get to the start line?

There is no parking at the start line of the Great North Run, so if you want to drive, you’ll need to park at a Metro station near the start line (Callerton Parkway, Bank Foot, Kingston Park, Regent Centre, Four Lane Ends, Northumberland Park, Heworth, Fellgate, East Bolden or Stadium of Light) and take the Metro from the finish back to the start line.

If you’re travelling to the start by public transport, the nearest bus stations are Haymarket and Eldon Square. If you’re travelling by the metro, the start is about 15 minutes’ walk from the Haymarket Metro station in Newcastle. South Shields Metro station is about 20 minutes’ walk from the finish line. Trains will be busy, so runners should allow extra time.

How do I get my number for the Great North Run?

Race numbers for the Great North Run will be posted out four weeks prior to the event. If your race pack hasn’t arrived four weeks before the event, email info@greatrun.org and you will be given details as to how you can collect a replacement pack on race weekend.

If you have moved house, you will need to email ten weeks before to prevent your race pack from being posted to your old address.

I’m in the wrong start wave for the Great North Run, what can I do?

The background colour of your race number and letter determines which start zone you are in. Your starting time and wave allocation is based on your estimated running time as stated on your entry form.

If you feel like you’ve been put in a start wave that is too quick, you can move back to a slower part pen on the day. Due to the size of the race, organisers ask runners not to move forward to a faster wave. If you feel like your wave is too slow for your estimated finish time, you can email info@greatrun.org for more details on how you can be moved.

Where are the best places to spectate at the Great North Run?

Some of the most popular places to spectate at the Great North Run are by the start of the race, or by Tyne Bridge, where you can often see the Red Arrows fly overhead. Organisers are reminding spectators that the course is usually extremely busy, so to allow plenty of time to get to the finish line if you’re meeting your runner there.

I can’t make it, how else can I watch the Great North Run?

If you can’t make it to Newcastle to spectate, you can watch the Great North Run on television. Usually the live coverage is on BBC1.

What will the weather be like for the Great North Run?

It's too early to tell what the weather will be like for this year's Great North Run, but we will be updating this page nearer the time.

I’m injured, can I give my place to someone else or defer my entry to the 2022 Great North Run?

Up to ten weeks before race day, you can withdraw from the event and get a refund. After this, you will only be able to get a refund if you do have a doctors note, which you can send to the Great Run customer services on this page.

For the Great North Run, you will be eligible for a guaranteed entry the following year if you do withdraw your entry. Find more information about the withdrawal process on the Great Run customer services page here. Under no circumstances are runners allowed to give their number to another runner.

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