THERE will be a distinct sporting flavour to the celebrity field of the Simplyhealth Great North Run this year as some famous faces limber up for the world’s biggest half marathon.

The 13.1mile run between Newcastle and South Shields is well-represented by celebrities who choose to raise money for charity or simply to achieve a personal goal, and 2017 is no different.

The first-ever Great North Run in 1981 saw Kevin Keegan turning out in a half Newcastle United and Sunderland shirt, becoming one of the first sportsmen to take part in the world famous half marathon.

Since then, many retired sporting icons have participated over the 36-year history of the event.

This weekend, Katharine Merry, Olympic 400m medallist, is running as a Duracell Pacer, while Gail Emms, the Olympic badminton silver medallist, is running for SportsAid.

Tim Prendergast, 800m Paralympic gold medallist, will be taking on the half marathon, alongside Craig Heap, Commonwealth gold medallist turned commentator.

Susie Chan, fitness blogger and endurance runner, will be taking part in her first-ever Simplyhealth Great North Run.

From the world of football, former Newcastle United and Everton footballer Jim Pearson will be taking on the distance while BBC Radio 5Live presenter George Riley will return to the event.

Durham and England opener Keaton Jennings will be joined by Durham teammates Michael Richardson and Chris Rushworth as the cricketers take full advantage of a gap in the fixture list to take on their first half marathons.

European and Commonwealth super bantamweight boxer Rendall Munroe is running for the Bodie Hodges Foundation, with ex-boxer Jamie Moore joining lightweight Carl Chadwick on the start line.

Andrew Balding, racehorse trainer and brother of BBC Sport presenter Clare Balding, will be taking part.

The Simplyhealth Great North Run takes place on Sunday, 10 September, and is broadcast live on BBC One HD from 9.30am until 1.30pm, with highlights on BBC Two at 6pm.

For more information, visit greatrun.org/north