IAAF and Great North Run to display dramatic opening

3rd September 2014

To mark the Bupa Great North Run becoming the first ever running event to reach a historic millionth finish, a spectacular opening ceremony will be hosted on the banks of the Tyne on Thursday 4 September. 
The evening will also see the millionth finish achievement officially recognised by the IAAF’s Athletics for a Better World global social responsibility programme.
Ahead of the annual run on Sunday 7 September, the evening will commence with a protocol ceremony hosted by the President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, and feature some of the most legendary names in the sport.
Brendan Foster, founder of the Great North Run, plus athletics royalty including Haile Gebrselassie, Paula Radcliffe, Tanni Grey-Thompson and Mike McLeod will all be part of the milestone occasion and the unveiling of the First Millionth Finish flag.
Ahead of the ceremony, Foster said: “We are delighted to announce that the President of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, will be overseeing the official protocol for the Great North Run Million Opening Ceremony, celebrating Tyneside as the first ever host of the millionth finish.” 
“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.”
Athletics for a Better World (ABW) was launched by the IAAF earlier this year and uses the universality of athletics to make a positive difference by helping to support and promote projects around the world in the fields of peace, social inclusion, environment and health.
The Bupa Great North Run has, for many decades, given ordinary citizens from all over the world the chance to be inspired and motivated to use athletics as a way to become fit and healthy and, through charity support, to also generously give to others. 
These achievements were the driving factors in the IAAF welcoming the event to the Athletics for a Better World programme.  
IAAF President Lamine Diack said: “Athletics for a Better World is a crucial initiative made up of a number of inspirational projects throughout the world aiming to encourage and promote athletics to millions as a way to create fit and healthy lifestyles. 
“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.”