GEORDIE entertainment royalty will entertain thousands tomorrow night (September 4) as the Great North Run celebrates its millionth finish.
Sting, Mark Knopfler and Ant and Dec are among the performers at the official opening ceremony on the Quayside of Newcastle and Gateshead.
The race’s achievement of becoming the first running event in the world to record one million finishes – due to happen on Sunday (September 7) will be recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) Athletics for a Better World global social responsibility programme.
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IAAF president Lamine Diack will host a protocol ceremony featuring some of the most legendary names in the sport, including Great North Run founder Brendan Foster, Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Mike McLeod, at which the first millionth finish flag will be unveiled.
Mr Foster said: “Such is the stature of the accomplishment that the millionth finish event is being included in the IAAF’s Athletics for a Better World initiative, which we are enormously proud of.”
Mr Diack said: “The millionth finish of the Bupa Great North Run is an extraordinary achievement, which we welcome into Athletics for a Better World and I would like to thank Brendan Foster and his team for the phenomenal work they have done since 1981 to make this IAAF Gold Label Road Race not just an important fixture in world athletics but also a part of the rich athletics culture in Great Britain.”
The evening’s events have been planned by the team behind the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies and will include images being projected on to the Sage Gateshead, mass dancing and a stuinning firework display.
Sting will perform songs from his musical and album The Last Ship, about the demise of shipbuilding in his native Wallsend.
He will be joined by Auf Wiedersehen, Pet star Jimmy Nail, who is also in the musical and well-known North-East traditional musicians, including Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell.
Dire Straits founder Mark Knopfler, who went to school on Tyneside, and multi-platinum selling festival favourites Chase & Status, will be performing and there will be narration from actors Tim Healy and Jill Halfpenny. Ant and Dec open the show.
There will also be a flotilla of 12 river vessels taking part in the event, which starts at 6pm.
Many free tickets have been available for Great North Run entrants from down the years.
Tickets costing £12 for adults and £7 for children are available to callers at the ticket office at the Guildhall, Sandhill, Newcastle, from 10am until show time at 8.30pm