Great North Run route map 2021: GNR start and finish points, distance, and start time

The biggest half marathon in the world returns this Sunday as the Great North Run whirrs back into life.

Last year’s event had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the race is set for a spectacular comeback this year to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The event takes place on Sunday, September 12 and will see 57,000 runners taking on the half marathon distance, which is equivalent to 13 miles or 21 kilometres.

Whilst it’s lining up to be a triumphant return for the Great North Run, it will have a new look in 2021.

The traditional course has been changed to “ensure the resilience” of the event.

Instead of finishing in South Shields, the race will loop back into the Newcastle city centre with runners crossing the Tyne Bridge twice.

The plan is for the 2022 event to revert back to the traditional course, which before this year hadn’t been changed in 40 years.

Here’s how the Great North Run 2021 route looks.

Great North Run route map. (Credit: Great North Run)
Great North Run route map. (Credit: Great North Run)
Great North Run route map. (Credit: Great North Run)

The Start

The Great North Run will start in the same place as usual, on the Central Motorway (A167).

Roads are closed to allow participants to gather on the road behind the start line, near Claremont Bridge.

This year’s assembly zone will be on the Town Moor, near Exhibition Park, and runners will make their way down onto the road from there.

Runners are encouraged to arrive in plenty of time as it will be a bit of a walk across the moor and onto the road… the perfect chance to get warmed up!

The Course

The Great North Run 2021 will take an out and back style loop.

From the central motorway, runners will make their way through town, following the road until it meets the Tyne Bridge.

After that, the course runs through Gateshead and past the Gateshead International Stadium towards the Heworth Interchange.

Two miles past the Heworth Interchange is the turning point, from where participants follow the same route back and over the Tyne Bridge.

The race finish is slightly different in the centre.

Instead of following the motorway as on the way out, runners will snake around Market Street and onto John Dobson Street, around Haymarket and the Civic Centre before reaching the finish.

The Finish

Even though the finish is different for the Great North Run 2021, there’s still a great chance to come home strong.

It may not hold the seafront views of South Shields, but the Great North Road is a flat finish to help with quick times.

The finish is on the Great North Road by the Town Moor and runners will then walk around the northeast corner of the moor to collect their medals and back onto the grass to enjoy the event village.

Start and finish line for the Great North Run map
Start and finish line for the Great North Run map
Start and finish line for the Great North Run map

Start Times

Specific start times have been allocated to participants to ensure a staggered start to the race.

The final runners will therefore set off several hours after the first wave of runners.

These changes have been introduced by organisers to ensure runners are able to socially distance.

Check your race bib for your allocated start time.