Thousands of runners' clothes that were left at the start line of the Great North Run have been collected and donated to two charities in the region.
40 Volunteers from Making Winter Warmer and the British Heart Foundation filled SIX VANS full of discarded tops, jackets and bottoms from the 57,000 runners at the world's biggest Half Marathon on Sunday (11 September).
Seven hundred refuse bags from the start line, on the central motorway in Newcastle, were packed and returned to the charities' depots that afternoon.
The clothes were scattered across the runners' assembly area, that stretches across one mile from Claremont Road bridge to Grandstand Road bridge. Making Winter Warmer volunteers will distribute the 15 tonnes of clothes, equivalent to the weight of a double decker bus, to the homeless in the north east.
The British Heart Foundation took around three hundred bags full of clothing to the two stores in Newcastle city centre, as well as their stores in Morpeth, Northumberland and Sunderland.
Jo Burns, of Making Winter Warmer, said: “After the Great North Run, everybody leaves a lot of clothing behind that they don't need while they are running.
“We were delighted to be invited along by the Great North Run to collect the unwanted items, it's an amazing opportunity for the charity.
“We store them at our base and get them washed before they are handed out to our street friends.”
Nigel Bullock, area manager at the British Heart Foundation, added: “It was great to be involved in the Great North Run in such a special way and we are very grateful for the opportunity.
“We collected around three hundred bags of discarded clothing items and I would estimate that the items combined would be worth in excess of £2,500!”
Joe Milner, assistant Start Director at the Great North Run, said: “The official charity clothing pick-up is truly a military operation with volunteers scattered across the mile-long startline.
“It was a mammoth task that took over an hour and a half but without the help of our charity partners, the clean-up would have taken a lot longer.
“It is great to know that the collected clothes will be going to worthy causes and to those who need it most.”
The Great North Run will return in 2017 on Sunday 10 September. Sign up to the reminder service at: grtrun.org/GNRReminder