A record 60,000 places will be available for the 40th staging of the event following unprecedented demand

Organisers of the Great North Run are preparing to celebrate the 40th staging of the event with the largest ever number of places available to runners.

Race capacity has been increased to 60,000 following unprecedented demand for entries, with the ballot remaining open until 9pm on Sunday (February 9).

The iconic half-marathon, which takes runners from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields, will return on September 13, with more than 200,000 people expected to line the streets to cheer on participants.

Paul Foster, chief executive of The Great Run Company, said: “This is already the world’s biggest half-marathon, but the demand we’ve seen this year has been amazing.

“We’re pleased that we’re able to accommodate a few more runners and take our entries to 60,000. It’s shaping up to be an exciting weekend, with new experiences and entertainment and with so many people entering the draw for places this year we want as many as possible to get in on the action.

“We’re grateful to all of our partners – the councils, police, NHS trusts / medical providers, fire brigade and Nexus  – who have worked with us to ensure that we can accommodate more runners, while making sure they have a happy and safe experience.”

Plans to celebrate the Great North Run’s 40th staging – GNR40 – were unveiled last month and include moving the popular Great North 5K from the Saturday prior to Great North Run day back to a Friday night and inviting the business community of Tyneside to enter a team as part of the Business Challenge, which will allow the full Saturday to be dedicated to the Junior and Mini Great North Runs which have developed into the world’s biggest children’s running events.

» For more on the Great North Run, visit greatrun.org/North