Great North Run: Organisers confirm famous half marathon WILL go ahead on Sunday in wake of Queen Elizabeth II's death
Organisers of the Great North Run have confirmed the main race will go ahead on Sunday, September 11 as planned.
Issuing a statement on Friday, September 9, the Great Run Company confirmed a number of changes to the weekend’s planned events following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – but said that the main half marathon between Newcastle and South Shields will run as normal.
The Junior and Mini Great North Runs – scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 10 – have been cancelled.
Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She was 96.
Please see below for the statements in full.
This is what the Great North Company said about the Great North Run on Sunday
The Great Run Company said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family. In light of this sad news, there will be a number of planned changes to the Great North Run weekend.
“The Great North 5k, incorporating the UK Athletics 5K Road Championship, will not go ahead as planned. We have also made the decision to postpone the Junior and Mini Great North Run.
“Sunday’s Great North Run will go ahead as planned. The event has traditionally been a celebration of the extraordinary achievements of ordinary people, this year it will be an opportunity for us to come together and express our condolences, while celebrating the life of our extraordinary Queen.
“The thousands of runners taking part are expected to raise an estimated £25 million pounds in much needed charitable donations, a fitting tribute to the Queen, who lived her life in the service of our country and its people.
“Elements of the runner and spectator experience will be more subdued out of respect to the Royal Family. Whilst we want runners to enjoy the day, we will be encouraging everyone to be mindful of the very sad and very special circumstances in which the event will be taking place, and encourage them to communicate their respect in whichever way they feel appropriate.
“Details of all changes will be directly communicated to participants across the weekend in due course.”
Sir Brendan Foster speaks following the death of Queen Elizabeth II
The founder of the Great North Run, Sir Brendan Foster, also issued a statement at the same time.
In it, he paid tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch and hailed her as “all that is great about our country”.
He said: “In common with people all over the country and all over the world we heard the news of the Queen’s death with enormous sadness.
“She represented all that is great about our country and about the values of public service and commitment to others.
“This morning we have met and held discussions with council leaders and regional politicians, with broadcasters and with others involved in the staging of the Great North Run.
“Following these discussions, we have decided to postpone the Junior and Mini Great North Run tomorrow, but proceed with the event on Sunday.
“We would like to apologise to the young runners and their families, especially those who had already travelled to Newcastle, but given the news of the Queen’s death is still so fresh we felt this was the right and appropriate thing to do.
“We have considered the staging of the Great North Run on Sunday, and are confident that we can continue in a way that will remain respectful of the Queen and the Royal Family and mindful of the mood of intense sadness which is being felt across the country.
“There will be an appropriate tribute made and whilst we want runners to enjoy the day we will be encouraging everyone to be aware of the very sad and very special circumstances in which the event will be taking place.
“We would encourage runners to communicate their respect for the Queen in any way they feel appropriate, and look forward to welcoming runners from all over the UK and the world to the North East this weekend.
“We will endeavour to ensure the event runs smoothly but we will do so ever mindful that the nation has lost someone whose death is a defining moment for all of us, and who will be in our hearts and minds not just today and tomorrow, but long into the future.”