Tyne & Wear

Great North Run 2018: Thousands take on half marathon

Sir Mo Farah crosses the finish line in the men's elite race Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Mo Farah broke clear of Jake Robertson to take the win

Thousands of people have taken part in the 2018 Great North Run.

Organisers said about 43,000 runners attempted the 13.1 mile event, which stretches from Newcastle to South Shields.

Sir Mo Farah sealed a record-breaking fifth victory by winning the elite men's race in 59 minutes and 26 seconds.

Among the celebrities taking part were singer Olly Murs, news presenter Sophie Raworth and model Nell McAndrew.

Thousands of cheering spectators have lined the route, while the Red Arrows soared above the Tyne Bridge in their annual flypast.

Sir Mo got under way in the elite men's race at 10:40 BST, with the rest of the field following them across the start line.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Mo was congratulated by fans lining the side of the course

Speaking after the win, Sir Mo said he was disappointed he had not been able to set a personal best time.

"The last two miles was hard coming into the headwind. My legs were a bit tired before the end," he added.

"I honestly thought I could run [a] decent time, a personal best today but the last two miles I slowed down a bit, which was disappointing.

"The most important thing was the win."

Image copyright Great Run Company
Image caption Olly Murs ran with his sister Fay

Chart-topping singer Murs said he had been given tips on training techniques from Sir Mo after meeting him at the Soccer Aid charity event.

Speaking afterwards, he said he had targeted a time of two hours but had been hampered by a calf issue a few miles into the race.

"That was amazing. I had to hold back the tears, that was tough," he added.

"About four or five miles in my calf went. I had a bit of a rub down and just powered through. I thought I can't give up.

"The crowd are amazing and really kept me going. It was an incredible day."

Lisa Rutherford and Caroline Curry, the mothers of Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry who were killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack, said their charity efforts would "help inspire local youths to fulfil their dreams".

"They would have a bit of a giggle knowing their mams were doing the Great North Run," said Lisa, who lives in South Shields.

Image caption Thousands of runners made their way along the opening few hundred metres

Police tweeted a message of thanks to people who "formed a human chain" around a runner who collapsed.

Officers said their actions allowed medics to reach the casualty quickly and administer CPR.

First held in 1981, the half-marathon has grown from an initial 12,000 runners.

New Zealand's Jake Robertson challenged Sir Mo in the men's elite race and took second place, the same result as last year.

Kenya's 2016 champion Vivian Cheruiyot justified her tag of pre-race favourite in the women's event by taking victory in one hour, seven minutes and 43 seconds.

Britain's David Weir was first across the finish line in the men's wheelchair race, sealing his seventh win in a course record of 41 minutes and 19 seconds.

Image caption As ever, many runners have donned fancy dress outfits

Before the race got under way, former I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! winner Vicky Pattison said she was proud to be taking part in the run in her home city.

"The last six weeks I've definitely got my head down, I'm feeling motivated.

"I don't think Mo Farah needs to worry though. I'm no distance runner."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Vivian Cheruiyot took victory in the women's elite race
Image copyright PA
Image caption David Weir once again led the way in the wheelchair event

Saturday saw thousands of fans line the banks of the River Tyne for the Junior and Mini Great North Runs, Great North 5K and the Great North City Games.

Long jumper Greg Rutherford bid an emotional farewell to the sport after finishing third in his final event.

He retired having won every major title, including gold at the 2012 Olympics.

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