THE WORLD’S biggest half marathon got even bigger after a record amount of people took part in the Simplyhealth Great North Run at the end of a top-class weekend of sporting action.
More than 43,000 runners crossed the start line of the world famous half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields on Sunday, with the event now in its 37th year.
The Simplyhealth Great North Run, with a record total of 43,127 finishers, was preceded on Saturday by the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great North Run events, which had both sold out in record time, alongside the Great North CityGames athletics event on the NewcastleGateshead quayside and the Simplyhealth Great North 5k on Saturday morning.
Sir Mo Farah became the first British man to win four Simplyhealth Great North Runs on a day where Mary Keitany ran the fourth quickest women’s time in the event’s 37-year history to take her third title.
Farah won in 60.06 with Jake Robertson 60.12 and Feyisa Lilesa third in 61.32.
Robertson crowned a fine Simplyhealth Great North Run debut by proposing to partner Magdalyne Masai on the finish line. Magdalyne, who finished fourth in the women’s race, accepted the proposal.
Earlier, Keitany clocked 65.59, with Vivian Cheruiyot finishing in 67.44 and Caroline Kipkirui in 69.52.
But it was Farah who stole the show once again, completing his quartet of victories, which matches the record set by the late Benson Masya in the 1990s.
The weekend also featured the first ever Simplyhealth Great Run Day, launched as a celebration of running and movement with the intention of getting more people active, using the flagship running event as inspiration.
New for 2017 was the Unlimited Company Great North Wheelchair event on the Newcastle quayside which was launched in partnership with Great Run headline sponsor Simplyhealth.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive Officer of Simplyhealth, said: “This weekend has been a humbling experience; so many amazing achievements by so many people, all with their own special stories to tell. It shows that no matter your age or ability, movement is not just the preserve of elite athletes.
“I am extremely proud to have been involved with the inaugural Unlimited Great North Wheelchair event, and sincerely hope that others will now be inspired to take the next step to living a more healthy and fulfilled life.
“We know that movement is the cornerstone to better health and, through our partnership with Great Run, want to encourage everyone to join the millions moving.”
The Great World Run initiative returned for 2017, with runners born in more than 140 countries represented on the start line, adding to the fact that every single postcode area in the United Kingdom was represented on Sunday.
On Saturday, celebrity chef and campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall fired the starting gun before running the Simplyhealth Great North 5k, while 6,500 youngsters took on the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great North Runs.
This year the 5k teamed up with the Newcastle Can campaign, offering a separate wave for anyone who has been inspired by the initiative to run alongside Hugh.
How To Sign Up
The 2018 Simplyhealth Great North Run takes place on Sunday 9 September 2018. A reminder service will run until the ballot opens for entry in January. For more information, visit greatrun.org/north