THE general entry ballot for the world’s biggest half marathon, the Simplyhealth Great North Run, is now open.

The annual spectacular, which this year will be staged for the 38th time, will take place on Sunday September 9.

More than a million people have completed the 13.1-mile distance from Newcastle to South Shields since it was first staged in 1981.

Loading article content

Last year saw a record amount of finishers in the world-famous half marathon, with 43,127 runners of all abilities crossing the finish line on the South Shields coast.

A massive £18.6million was raised for good causes during the Simplyhealth Great North Run last year, with more than two-thirds of finishers taking part to raise money for charities.

The Simplyhealth Great North Run is the highlight of a remarkable weekend in the region, which also features the Great North CityGames, the Great North 5k plus the Junior and Mini Great North Runs.

Last year quadruple Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah became the first runner to win four Great North Runs in a row, which helped earn him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2017.

Many of the world’s greatest distance runners including Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, Liz McColgan, Derartu Tulu, Mary Keitany and Kenenisa Bekele have triumphed over the years.

In 2018, The Simplyhealth Great North Run will form part of the finale of next year's Great Exhibition of the North.

The event will be the centrepiece of the Exhibition's final weekend in September. The Exhibition will showcase the best of art, culture, design and innovation across the Northern Powerhouse.

To register for the ballot prospective applicants should visit www.greatrun.org/north.

The ballot will close at midday on Monday, 5 February with all applicants being notified by email no later than Friday 9 February.