Great North Run 2022: How the day unfolded as famous half marathon paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Thousands of runners and spectators alike were in the North East on Sunday, September 11 for the 41st staging of the Great North Run.

The iconic half marathon returned to its traditional route – 13.1 miles between Newcastle and South Shields – for the first time since 2019, on a weekend where the nation mourned the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The 2022 staging of the race acted as a celebration of the monarch’s life and service, with a poignant moment of silence taking place before the runners set off.

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After ruling for more than 70 years and a lifetime of duty, the Queen passed away at Balmoral on Thursday, September 8. She was 96.

Thousands of runners set off on the 41st Great North Run after a minute's silence to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II. Picture: North News & Pictures.

While a number of events were cancelled in the wake of her death, the Great Run Company confirmed that the famous race would go ahead as planned.

A company statement said: “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.”

Founder Sir Brendan Foster added on Friday (September 9): “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.”

Please see below for a recap on how race day unfolded.

Great North Run 2022: How the day unfolded as famous half marathon paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Key Events

  • Thousands of runners and spectators visited region for big day
  • A touching tribute to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II before runners crossed the start line
  • Check out our recap of how race day unfolded across the North East - with your pictures, stories and more
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Good luck to all the elite wheelchair racers, who have set off on their Great North Run!

Georgina reporting live from South Shields

With the first race officially underway, Georgina’s got an eye on the finish line in South Shields. Don’t forget to look for her when you finish later!

Imagine the feeling of crossing that line ...

Peaceful scenes at the finish line in South Shields - but not for long. Get ready for thousands of runners!

South Shields is ready for you, runners!

Here to cheer Jasmine on

Our reporter Georgina met Rachael and Lauren Ransbury, who were finding a spot at the finish line to cheer on Jasmine Trinder, who is running for the Alzheimer’s Society.

The very best of luck Jasmine, and what a great banner!

Elite wheelchair athletes cross the Tyne Bridge as the Great North Run races begin on Sunday morning. Picture: PA.

Elite wheelchair athletes pass over the Tyne Bridge during the Great North Run. Picture: PA.

Celebrating the life of our Queen

Sir Brendan Foster addresses runners at the Great North Run start line. He added: “Today we will run from Newcastle to South Shields with Queen Elizabeth in our minds and in our hearts.”

An impeccable minute’s silence was then held in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

More from Sir Brendan Foster at the start line

Sir Brendan Foster believes The Queen would have wanted the Great North Run to go ahead.

Run founder Foster, who received his CBE from The Queen, addressed the 60,000 runners as they prepared to set off on the 13.1miles from Newcastle to South Shields after organisers decided to go ahead with the annual event.

He told the BBC: “We felt it was in tune with what would have been The Queen’s wishes in our view. People coming together as a community, coming together to do what they aimed for, to be the best version of themselves they could be to raise money for charities.

“She spent a lot of her life raising money for charity, so we felt it was the right thing to do.

“If you look at the atmosphere, it’s reflective – the overriding picture of The Queen there, ’26 to ’22, an amazing life she led and a great example to us all,

“To fair and to be honest, I was much more emotional when it happened than I ever thought I would be because it takes you to your own family. It takes you to loss you’ve suffered before and she’d been a constant in our lives, and then she’s gone.

“It was a difficult time for everyone, but I think the mood is today sombre a little.”

Here come the elite women

Elite women athletes pass over the Tyne Bridge during the Great North Run on Sunday. Picture: PA.

Elite women athletes pass over the Tyne Bridge during the Great North Run on Sunday. Picture: PA.
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