Ceremony marks Great North Run milestone

CELEBRATING MILESTONE ... an opening ceremony is being held for this year's Great North Run.
CELEBRATING MILESTONE ... an opening ceremony is being held for this year's Great North Run.

A FAMOUS running event which ends in South Shields will be opened with a star-studded ceremony as its organisers prepare for the millionth runner.

The Great North Run Million Ceremony is set to take place on the Newcastle quayside on Thursday, September 4.

It will celebrate the fact that one of the runners taking part in this year’s half marathon will be the millionth person to cross the finish line on The Leas, in South Shields.

The famous Bupa run was started by Olympic bronze medallist and Hebburn lad Brendan Foster in 1981. It sees runners take on a 13.1-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields, and this year’s race takes place on Sunday, September 7.

The opening ceremony to mark the milestone will feature live music, film, dance performances and star appearances.

Grammy Award-winning musician Mark Knopfler is set to make an appearance at the show to play his famous Geordie anthem, Local Hero.

The former Dire Straits frontman said: “I’m proud to have been a supporter of this great event from the beginning, and am looking forward to being there to play Local Hero once more when the Bupa Great North Run gets ready to notch up its millionth finish.”

Mr Foster added: “We’re absolutely thrilled that the music legend Mark Knopfler will be opening our event playing 
the world-famous tune Local Hero.

“More than 30 years ago, Mark and Dire Straits’ music were our soundtrack in the early days of the Great North Run – that particular track has now become the Great North Run anthem.

“What better way to kick off this world-first event?”

North-East actress Jill Halfpenny, Northumberland folk group The Unthanks, and drum ‘n’ bass act Chase and Status will also be involved in the ceremony, which is led by artistic director Bradley Hemmings.

Tickets for the event, which starts at 7.30pm, cost £12 for adults and £7 for children. To book, go to www.gnrmillion.org

The event will also be broadcast live on BBC2.

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki