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Great North run boosted North East economy by £31m last year, research reveals

Organisers of the Great North Run have hailed the impact the event has on the economy, health and tourism of the North East after a report found the region received a £31m boost from last year’s race.

As the region prepares to host the 40th race of the world’s biggest marathon, The Great Run Company has commissioned a survey which revealed the massive spend made by both participants and spectators while in the area.

Visitors also highly rated the North East as a destination, with 96% rating it as good or excellent – and said they were more likely to visit again because of their experience, saying the Great North Run raised the region’s profile nationally and internationally.

Participants from the UK who don’t live within the region spent an average of £257.18 across the weekend, and this more than doubled to £586.34 for international visitors.

Hotels and B&Bs also had a boost with 47% staying overnight in order to take part in the event – and 20% of visitors had never been to the region before.

In all, 66% of non-regional participants said they were more likely to visit the area again, while 67% of participants saying their view of North East England had been positively changed after taking part in the Great North Run.

The survey also found evidence of the positive health and wellbeing effects of taking part in any of the events across the weekend, including the Great North Run, the Great North 5k and the Junior Mini Great North Run, as its programme of events had appealed to those who wouldn’t normally sign up to similar events.

Paul Foster, chief executive of The Great Run Company, said: “We’ve always known that the Great North Run is woven into the fabric of Tyneside, but this research really brings home the impact of the event on the economy, tourism and wellbeing of the region. We’re so proud of all the event has become and want to thank everyone who has helped to bring us this far.”

The boost to the North East economy is set to top last year’s figure with an expanded events programme that includes an evening 5k race and more emphasis on the youth events.

This year’s event weekend will stretch over three days, with runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as part of changes announced at the Great North Run 40 event held in Newcastle this week.

New entertainment is planned to keep runners going through the course and, for the first time, the Great North 5k race will take place on the Friday evening, rather then the Saturday, in order to free up that day for the Junior and Mini Great North runs for children.

The ballot for the Great North Run opened on January 6, and there has been a 25% rise in applications compared with the same period in 2019.

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