15 Jul

Great North Run Exhibition Opens

stylised runners by Peter Blake

The Great North Run celebrates its 30th birthday this year and to mark the occasion a major new exhibition - In the Long Run - is being staged to celebrate the history and significance of the iconic event. The exhibition, part of 2010 Bupa Great North Run Culture, opens on Saturday (July 17) at the Great North Museum: Hancock.

The first Bupa Great North Run took place in 1981, attracting 12,000 runners. Today, the event is the world's largest half-marathon with over 54,000 entrants a year and many thousand more supporters. With four hours of live coverage on the BBC, it is one of the UK's most loved sporting events.

In the Long Run explores the history of the Bupa Great North Run, its origins and growth, as well as raise awareness of its significant role in reflecting and shaping the North-East's cultural identity.

As well as the well known stories of elite runners, In The Long Run will also explore the huge organisational effort behind the Bupa Great North Run, documenting the event's community spirit and creating a powerful piece of social history. Alongside memorabilia and star objects, In The Long Run will present artwork from the archives of Bupa Great North Run Culture, with paintings, films, photographs and drawings.

Artists whose work will feature in In the Long Run include Claire Leona Apps, Vicki Bennett, Suky Best, Ravi Deepres and Michael Baig-Clifford, Graham Dolphin, James Edwards, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, Julian Germain, Jane and Louise Wilson. With interactive exhibits, special events and guest lectures, there's plenty for everyone to see and do.

Beth Bate, manager of Bupa Great North Run Culture, says: "In The Long Run is a really exciting exhibition which will give people the chance to delve right into the Bupa Great North Run and find out more about its fascinating history and the thousands of people who've made it a success. We're also delighted to be able to showcase work from our cultural archives - this will be the first time they've been seen together."

The Great North Museum: Hancock is located on Barras Bridge, on Newcastle University's campus and is just two minutes walk from Haymarket Metro and bus stations. The exhibition runs until October 17.

The image shown is by Britpop artist Peter Blake (courtesy paulbaines.co.uk)