Thousands of people are taking to the streets of Tyneside in the 40th staging of the Great North Run.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and organisers have changed the half-marathon’s route this year to aid social distancing. Participants are starting and finishing in Newcastle rather than making their way to South Shields. Runners have staggered timeslots which replace the traditional mass start for the world’s biggest half-marathon. About 57,000 people are taking part and raising millions of pounds for charity, The Great North Run Company said. The new route sees runners cross the Tyne Bridge twice and make their way through Newcastle city centre before finishing on the Great North Road.
The elite women’s race was won by Kenyan Helen Obiri in a time of 1:07:42, ahead of Great Britain’s Eilish McColgan, who was six seconds behind. Scotland’s McColgan was aiming to repeat her mum Liz’s three victories at the event in the 1990s. Great Britain’s Charlotte Purdue finished in third. Marc Scott, also of Great Britain, was victorious in the men’s elite race, clocking a time of 1:01:22 to finish nine seconds ahead of Kenya’s Ed Cheserek. Galen Rupp of the United States was a further 20 seconds behind in third place. Sean Frame won the men’s wheelchair race in 49:52 with fellow Briton Shelly Woods first across the finishing line in the women’s event in 57:01. Four NHS workers were invited to start the race in recognition of the health service’s efforts during the pandemic. Speaking afterwards, occupational health worker Deborah Southworth said it had been “absolutely amazing” and a “privilege”.