Sir Brendan Foster is to step down as chairman of the company behind the Great North Run.

Days before this year's event on Sunday, The Great Run Company announced that former bp Managing Director Peter Mather will replace Sir Brendan as Chairman. Foster, who founded the iconic Great North Run in 1981, will move to a new role as President.

Peter Mather was previously the BP Group Regional President (SVP) for Europe, combined with his role as Head of Country, UK. He left bp as a full time executive earlier in the year, to take on a more diverse portfolio, which includes a number of non-executive directorships.

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Mather said, “I’m delighted to be joining the Great Run Company at such an exciting time.  The event celebrated an incredible milestone in 2021 with the 40th Great North Run and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to drive that legacy forward.

“Although I have some big shoes to fill, I’m looking forward to supporting the talented team, as they continue to build on their world class reputation in mass participation sporting events.

“I’m a passionate believer in the power of sport, in particular mass participation events, to enhance people’s lives and have a lasting, positive impact on our communities.”

Two new non-executive directors, Nick Read, Commercial Director at Silverstone and Felicity Barnard, Commercial Director of Ascot Racecourse, will join Peter on the board, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience.

The Northern Echo: Great Britain's Marc Scott wins the Men's Elite Race during the 2021 Great North RunGreat Britain's Marc Scott wins the Men's Elite Race during the 2021 Great North Run

Read said,” The Great Run Company has a really compelling proposition and I’m really looking forward to joining the board. With an ever-increasing focus on individual health and wellbeing, it feels like a great time to take on this role and use my experience to support the company in its commercial aims.”

Barnard said, “‘I’m delighted to be appointed to the board of the Great Run Company. The events provide the opportunity for participants to achieve and inspire up and down the country.

“I look forward to working with the team to evolve the business for our competitors and to reach new audiences as the company continues to innovate.”

Chief Executive Paul Foster said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming these three talented individuals to the board as the company moves to the next stage in its evolution. 

“We want to continue to grow and build the Great North Run and the organisation around it. Peter, Felicity and Nick will be an important part of our journey to 50.

“Over the next five years The Great Run Company has ambitious plans. We’re working on product innovations like 13 Valleys, an epic ultra-marathon event in the Lake District National Park, we’re making a significant investment into our production company Film Nova and continuing to develop and grow the Great Run Series – the UK’s biggest mass participation events series.”


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