Runners joy as the Great North Run returns to South Shields for the first time in three years

Two runners from South Shields have expressed their joy as the Great North Run is set to finish in South Shields for the first time since 2019.

Sir Brendan Foster, the founder of the Great North Run, confirmed on Monday, January 10, that the iconic half marathon will return to South Shields for 2022.

It follows the run being cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and then the route was changed to start and finish in Newcastle for 2021 on the back of safety advice.

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The ballot for the event, which will take place on September 11, is now open and two South Shields runners have discussed their delight as it returns to the town.

From left blind runner Billy Burrell, fundraiser runner Craig Huddart, Leader of South Tyneside Council Cllr Tracey Dixon, Sir Brendan Foster and Emma Lewell-Buck MP.

Billy Burrell, from South Shields, last completed the Great North Run in 1991 and will be taking part in this year’s event with a guide runner after he lost his sight.

The 58-year-old said: “I’m really looking forward to it, I originally did it in 1989 and then in 1991, with that time being in fancy dress with my cousin as Sylvester and Tweety.

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"It felt like took us about three weeks to complete but I’ve thought about it loads of times over the years and ever since I heard about the 40th anniversary, I decided that I was definitely going to do it again.

“Since my sight loss, I just think that it will be an even bigger achievement again if I can get a guide runner to do it with me so I’m really up for it this year.”

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Sir Brendan Foster's delight as the Great North Run returns to South Shields

Craig Huddart, who now lives in Middleton-in-Teesdale but was born in South Shields, is taking on a 10K run every single day of 2022 – with a half marathon every Sunday to raise money and awareness for the Alan Shearer Foundation and the North East Autism Society.

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The 38-year-old added: “It is going to be finishing in my home town which didn’t happen last year so I’m looking forward to doing it properly this year.

"The total for the entire year that I’m aiming for is 4,200 km, so far I’m up to 122 km so there is still quite a way to go, my legs are starting to feel it a little bit but it is going really good and it is for two amazing charities.”

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Craig Huddart is running 10k every day of 2022 and a half marathon every Sunday.

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