Bernard at SorwatheNewcastle-based tea and coffee experts Ringtons is working with the Great North Run to help achieve its ambition to find a representative from every country in the world to take part in the 2016 half-marathon.

Famous for its traditional doorstep delivery service, Ringtons is sponsoring a runner from a tea estate in Rwanda to take part in the 13.1mile run from Newcastle to South Shields on 11th September.

Great North Run organisers the Great Run Company are calling for participants from all 193 United Nations member states to take part in the event and asking members of the public to help them find a runner to represent each nation.

Bernard Ndayisabye, amateur footballer and senior assistant accountant from the Sorwathé Tea Estate in northern Rwanda will be representing both Rwanda and Ringtons in the 2016 Great North Run and running alongside Ringtons tea buyer and blender Daniel Smith, who is also the great-grandson of Ringtons founder Samuel Smith.

James Jobling, Ringtons Head of Tea said: “I am lucky enough to travel to some of the finest tea estates and plantations in the world through my work and I had the pleasure of visiting Sorwathé in both 2006 and 2013, where I was able to see first-hand how the community works together to produce its tea.

“When we saw the Great North Run were looking for a representative from every country to take part in the 2016 challenge, as a local company we thought it fitting to sponsor someone from one of our close tea estates to take part in the run.

“We are looking forward to returning Sorwathé’s hospitality and welcome Bernard to the north east.  We’re planning on taking Bernard on a tour of our fantastic region and meet some of our loyal customers while on one of our Ringtons vans too!”

Great Run’s director of communications David Hart said: “The Great North Run is a North-East institution with worldwide appeal, so working with Ringtons, who have such a long and illustrious history in the region is a great fit.

“We knew that finding a runner from every country in the world was going to be a huge challenge, so we’re delighted that Ringtons have lent their support to this worldwide effort. We would welcome any other companies who might be able to help us to get in touch.”

The event organisers have launched a dedicated website to track the countries that have signed up for the Great North Run at greatrun.org/GNRWorldRun, with Togo, Iceland, Mali, Mozambique, Palau and Ivory Coast among the nations yet to be represented.

The Great North CityGames, Junior and Mini Great North Runs and the Great North 5k held on Saturday, September 10, will be accompanied by a food festival with dishes from around the world on offer.

It is the latest stage in the development of the Great North Run, 35 years on from its first staging in 1981, where 12,000 people took part.

In 2014, Tracey Cramond, from County Durham, was the millionth finisher over the line.

All applicants will be requested to supply proof of their nationality before being accepted into the event, and a dedicated email address – international@greatrun.org – has been set up to handle enquiries from anyone who could be eligible.

To find out more about the World’s Favourite Run campaign, visit greatrun.org/gnrworldrun or contact on social media using #GNRWorldRun.