North Run Millionth Finisher Completes Rounds The Bays

Great Comeback 3

As Tracey Cramond was embraced by her emotional father Roy on the finish line of the Round the Bays run next to the marine blue waters of St Heliers Bay, Auckland on Sunday, it was another step in an incredible six months for the millionth finisher of the Morrisons Great North Run.

It was last September when Tracey was plucked from obscurity on to the BBC platform to meet run founder Brendan Foster and Lord Sebastian Coe, as the Great North Run became the first IAAF event to achieve the momentous milestone of a million.  The suggestion was made that Tracey should retrace the footsteps that Foster took 35 years ago and for her to take part in Round the Bays; the city to coast run that fuelled his imagination to create what is now the world's leading half marathon in the North East of England.

She saw many comparisons in New Zealand; the human tide of humanity snaking their way to the seaside, the boisterous atmosphere generated by fellow competitors, the music and encouragement from the sidelines, the friendly hosepipes cooling the masses, and the right turn on to the grass to take the last few steps at the finish line.

One experience rather less likely to be seen on the Great North Run route to South Shields would be an army of volunteers distributing dollops of suncream to participants as the temperature nudged 26 degrees.

Tracey found the experience quite overwhelming. "I am so proud to be here, nearly 12,000 miles from home thanks to Brendan and Seb, and to have my father here with me was just wonderful.

“I entered the Great North Run as a tribute to my Mum Lynn who passed away in 2013. Dad and I shed a tear for her today. But I know how proud she would be of me now." 

Round the Bays was established in 1972 and is jointly organised by Fairfax media, the Ports of Auckland Authorities and the Auckland joggers association, who set up in the year of Tracey's birth in 1962. Over a distance of 5.2 miles, an estimated 30,000 people took part this year.

Tracey will once again take part in the Morrisons Great North Run this September, but this time a very special number 1,000,000 will be hers, and she will be able to cherish many special memories from her time in New Zealand.