THE organisers of the Great North Run have today announced alternative plans to celebrate the event, despite its cancellation due to coronavirus.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that the world's most popular half-marathon, which follows a 13.1 mile route from Newcastle to South Shields, would not take place in September as planned.

Great North Run Reimagined aims to create an experience as close as possible to the real thing, giving everyone an opportunity to still commemorate the iconic half marathon in 2020 and continue their fundraising for their chosen charities.

Great North Run reimagined provides runners two virtual running propositions; Great North Run Solo to take them through what would have been the traditional training period and the Official Virtual Great North Run to give an on the day virtual race experience.

Runners are being encouraged to keep running throughout the summer by taking part in Great North Run Solo.

The challenge kicked off on Sunday, June 28, marking the anniversary of the first ever Great North Run and continues until the September 13, the day the 40th Great North Run was scheduled to take place.

Runners will be challenged to complete 40 runs, one for each year of the Great North Run.

Those taking part can run any pace or distance they are comfortable with and everyone who completes the challenge will receive a special edition medal.

The challenge costs £10 to join, and all profits will go to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

There have already been over 14,000 people sign up for the challenge and entries are open until July 31.

Sir James Mackey, chief executive officer of Northumbria Healthcare, said: "The Great North Run Solo is a fantastic opportunity for us all to get involved in physical activity, no matter whether you are a seasoned runner or not.

"We have all been impacted by the Covid:19 pandemic and it has been humbling to see what everyone has done to support the NHS and care sector. We will all be forever grateful for this support.’

"The Great North Run Reimagined now gives more opportunity to support the NHS and local charities – whilst focusing on your personal health and fitness which we all know is more important than ever before.

"The NHS across the region supports this work and many NHS staff will be participating."

Organisers are also working on the Official Virtual Great North Run experience to allow everyone to get a taste of what it is like to take part in the real thing, for free.

The Great North Run would normally raise millions for charities, so runners are encouraged to take on the 13.1 mile challenge to raise money for one of the event's official charities.

Paul Foster, chief executive of the Great Run Company, said: “Despite having to cancel the event due to the public health crisis caused by the Coronavirus we were determined to find a way to mark the day and celebrate all that is great about the event and the people who make it even greater.

“The Great North Run is an important day in the calendar for the North-East for competitors, spectators and many others, but in particular for charities.

"Through runners’ blood, sweat and tears over £25m is raised for charity each year.

"With runner’s help and through the Great North Run Reimagined campaign, we’re hoping to still help all our charity partners raise a significant fundraising total.”

Entries for the Official Virtual Great North Run open August 3, for details visit

With the live event off, the Great North Run will celebrate its landmark 40th staging next year.

Runners who had a place in this year’s event can roll it over to the next Great North Run, currently scheduled for Sunday, September 12, 2021, or get their entry fund refunded.

The Junior and Mini Great North Run and the Great North 5km, traditionally held on the Saturday before the Great North Run, were also cancelled. Those with a 2020 place will be given a priority entry window in 2021.