Over two-hundred Gurkha soldiers from Catterick Garrison ran the Morrisons Great North 10k in Gateshead today (5 July), in aid of the relief fund set up following two devastating earthquakes in Nepal earlier this year.
The soldiers joined thousands of runners at the North East's biggest 10k run to raise money for the Nepal Earthquake Response Fund, supporting the ongoing recovery efforts in their homeland.They were also selling traditional Nepali food at the event village, in return for donations to the charity.
Captain Autar Shrestha, of Gurkha Company said: “The Morrisons Great North 10k provides us with a sound platform to raise awareness of the devastating Nepal earthquakes to the local public and seek their support to help alleviate relief efforts.
“Sadly, the earthquakes have taken many thousands of innocent lives, destroyed homes and flattened ancient sites in various parts of the country. In such difficult times and not being able to go home, it is only natural for Nepalese people to want to help in every possible way.
He continued, “This year we are commemorating 200 years of service to the British Crown, which means a significant history built on loyalty, trust and sacrifices of our forefathers. The Gurkhas sincerely honour the British public for their love and admiration received over the past 200 years.”
The honorary starter of the event was Katie Cutler, the 22-year-old Gateshead beautician who raised over £300,000 for pensioner Alan Barnes, after he was mugged earlier this year.
Recently awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list, Katie has since set up the Katie Cutler Foundation in a bid to help other people who are in less fortunate situations around the UK.
Katie set the runners on their way along with Tracey Cramond, who also became a household name last September when she was plucked from thousands of participants as the millionth finisher of the Morrisons Great North Run. The world-famous half marathon was the first running event in the world to achieve this milestone.
Both Katie and Tracey then jumped down from the starter's podium to join the last wave of runners and take part in the 10k.
The 10k is the sister event to the Morrisons Great North Run, Britain's biggest running event, and saw over four-thousand runners cross the finish line on the athletics track inside Gateshead International Stadium.
First male athlete across the line was Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, who sprinted home in a time of 29:50, swiftly followed by Ireland's Mark Christie in 30:09 in second place with Matthew Hynes of Great Britain clinching third in 30:10.
Adbi said: “It was very tough, I was hoping to run fast but I didn't know the course and it was really tough. But with the support of the people I didn't want to be soft so I just tried to run as fast as possible, but it was ok. The weather was a little bit windy, but the course was really tough. The atmosphere was great, people really love it, great support”.
In the women's race, Fionnuala McCormack of Ireland claimed victory in 33:19, more than 4 seconds ahead of Great Britain's Alex Sneddon who followed her across the line in 37:32. Third place was claimed by Brit Michelle Nolan in 37:49.
Fionnuala said: “It was good, I enjoyed it. It's a tough course, but I'd been told beforehand that from like 9k there was a massive hill and it was only when I came to it I was right at the 9k mark, I was thinking does this go all the way up to the stadium? So when it levelled off before we came in here, I thought that wasn't too bad. It's really cool to finish on the track because with the crowd it's a great atmosphere. I got a lot of support off the other runners out on course too and from their families.”
This was the seventh staging of the event, which takes in iconic landmarks on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside including concert venue Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
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