GREAT North Run founder Sir Brendan Foster has called on the Government work with insurance companies to help provide indemnity against cancellation to ensure the event's 40th anniversary can go ahead without hitch.

Speaking to the BBC Today programme, Sir Brendan said he remained "cautiously optimistic" the event would proceed in some form on September 12, but said some form of insurance scheme was needed.

He said: "We Have a record entry of 60,000 adults and 10,000 kids for the junior Great North Run. We are following the Government road map which says that on June 21, as long as Covid-19 cases aren’t on the rise they are going to be prepared to ease restrictions on large events.

"The roadmap has been really well researched it has been laid out in detail and we are following it in detail. But unfortunately to open up these large events and to ease the restrictions the key tool in doing that at the moment is missing because the insurance industry is not available to offer insurance for major events."

He added: "For the last 40 years, since the very first Great North Run, when we were instructed we had to take out insurance, we have done that every year since.

"But the market for insurance has failed, so we are making a plea, alongside a lot of other people, as part of the Let Live Thrive campaign, to say to the Government please get together with the insurance industry and try to cover this lack of a market."

Last year’s Great North Run was among many that had to be cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.

Sir Brendan said the organisers would struggle to go ahead this year without insurance and would have to see what shape it could be done in.

He said: “But also, major events throughout the country, everyone’s in the same boat. This is not just about the Great North Run.

“This is about the Government seeking to get things back to normal and seeking to get Britain back on its feet by the autumn.”

"What they have to do is is indemnity scheme in place so that it is actually functioning. We are going to follow all the rules and Government instructions

"If the Government says the event can go ahead by the time it is due, then we need to have an indemnity scheme in position."