The Great North Run is now just 27 countries away in its bid to become the first running event to boast a participant from every country in the world

The ambitious attempt by organisers to have every country in the world represented at the 2016 Great North Run has taken another step forward.

The 166th nation to be announced is Kiribati, an island nation in the central Pacific Ocean which straddles the equator and the International Date Line. Kiribati is the only country on the planet that is situated within all four hemispheres.

The Great Run Company is seeking to secure a participant born in every one of the 193 UN recognised nations to make this year’s event the Great World Run.

After becoming the first running event in the world to welcome a million runners over the finish line in its 35-year history, organisers are confident that the latest campaign will be a world first in a single sporting event.

So far Uzbekistan, Suriname, Vanuatu and Myanmar are among the nations to have been recruited, with 27 countries remaining.

Mark Hollinshead, chief executive of The Great Run Company, said: “It has been a fascinating journey to date and we are pleased to have made such progress, but there is plenty of work still to do.

“We will not be able to reach our target without the continued support of the public, so all help will be welcomed.

“The qualifying criteria is that the individual must be born in the nation they represent, even if they now live in the UK.”

The list of nations still to be found is available at and a dedicated email address, [email protected] has been set up for further enquiries.