image captionAlmost 17,000 people are taking part in the virtual event
Almost 17,000 people will be taking part in a virtual Great North Run across 57 countries and six continents, organisers have said.
The official event was cancelled because of coronavirus and a virtual run is taking its place later with a free app to accompany runners.
Run founder Brendan Foster said the aim was to recoup money for charities.
More than 60,000 runners were due to take part in the half-marathon in what would have been its 40th year.
image captionBig pink dress man Colin Burgin-Plews will walk around South Shields in his costume to raise money for charity
Mr Foster said: “This year has been testing for everyone so we had to re-imagine the event and take it out to the people.
“At least we will be able to keep people active and that’s our mission.
“Thousands of charities have lost their income in recent times and we want to address this.
“Through the app those taking part can experience the sights and sounds of previous runs and hear encouraging words from the likes of Ant and Dec and Mo Farah.”
He said he would do the run setting off from Bamburgh Castle and along the Northumberland coast taking breaks and walking part of the way.
image captionFounder Brendan Foster said participants will be “together in spirit”
He added: “I want to urge people to take their time and experience the day on the app and wherever you are, there are thousands of others from every postcode in the UK.
“We won’t be physically together but we will be in spirit.”
Organisers said they had not taken the decision to cancel the run, from Newcastle to South Shields, lightly and participants could apply for refunds or transfer their entry to next year.
Big pink dress man Colin Burgin-Plews, who has raised thousands of pounds for charity, was due to take part but will now walk roughly 13 miles around South Shields in his costume.
He is raising money for St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland and the Kayaks club for children and young adults in South Tyneside.
He said: “I’m going to set off in the morning – no idea what route I’ll take. Hopefully I’ll meet people on the way socially-distancing obviously.
“I feel good about it, but it’s going to be weird and different not seeing thousands of people.”