Great North Run: Sunday will be a 'huge blow', but we look forward to welcoming run back, says South Tyneside Council leader
The top woman at South Tyneside Council has said admitted Sunday without the Great North Run finish will be a ‘significant blow’ for South Tyneside – but she was looking forward to the run returning in 2022.
Organisers of the world-renowned half marathon sparked outcry and dismay when they announced in July that the event would start and finish in Newcastle for 2021, citing covid concerns.
Some have suggested the 2021 run should have been cancelled altogether rather than making the chance, but chief executive Paul Foster said this would have made it difficult for the run to return in 2022.
Cllr Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said discussions were already underway over the 2022 staging of the race, and Great North Run bosses have said the finish will return to South Shields ‘as soon as it is safe to do so’.
“I know that the Great Run Company’s decision to amend the route of this year’s Great North Run was a significant blow to our residents and businesses for whom the event is much loved, not to mention the runners who expect the traditional South Shields finish line experience,” she said.”
“The changes are temporary and were a direct response to the pandemic. I can assure everyone that we are already in discussions to ensure the finish line will return to South Shields again next year.
“South Tyneside is the home of the Great North Run finishing line - It is such a special event, much-loved by not only the people of South Tyneside but the hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators from all over the UK and beyond.
She added: “The Great North Run raises huge amounts of money for important causes based across the country and it is important that those charities have been able to benefit from the race going ahead, albeit with a different route.
“For those running this year I wish you the very best of luck. We are always extremely proud to host the spectacular finish of the Great North Run and look forward to welcoming it back in 2022 together with its runners and spectators.”
The 2021 route will see runners start on the Central Motorway in Newcastle and cross the Tyne Bridge as normal, following the usual route until Whitemare Pool, where they will turn around before heading back to Newcastle.
There will be a short out-and-back section in along Gateshead Highway, then runners will return over the Tyne Bridge before making their way through Market Street, John Dobson Street, St Mary’s Place, and finishing at the Town Moor.
Runners will also be setting off in waved starts at different times.
Mr Foster said the changes would help avoid overcrowding on public transport.
He said finishing in Newcastle means runners disperse from the finish more easily – from the middle of the transport network, rather than the end of the line in South Shields
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