Sporting Superstars To Start Great North Run 2019

Womens Running

Cricketing hero Mark Wood, from our World Cup winning England side will join Lionesses Steph Houghton and Jill Scott, who reached the semi-finals at the Women's Football World Cup in France, on the official starters podium at this year's Simplyhealth Great North Run.

The trio of talent, all originally hailing from the North East will take on starters duties for the day, seeing tens of thousands of runners across the start line at the UKs biggest running event on Sunday 8th September.

57,000 people are registered for the iconic 13.1 mile run which starts on the Central Motorway in Newcastle before making its way through Gateshead, finally finishing at the coast in South Shields.

Fast Bowler Mark Wood, who comes from Ashington in Northumberland, took 18 wickets during England's successful World Cup campaign, regularly bowling in excess of 90mph.

Mark said, ”Coming from the North East it is a fantastic honour to be one of the starters for the 2019 Simplyhealth Great North Run.

“I am very passionate about the region and healthy living so it will be brilliant to see so many runners taking part, some of whom are raising money for very worthwhile causes”

Midfielder Jill Scott, who played a pivotal role in the England's inspirational performance at the Women's World Cup is no stranger to a Great North Run start line, having taken part in  the Junior event as a youngster. Jill, originally from Sunderland, will be travelling back to the North East after the opening day of the 2019 season with her team Manchester City.

Jill said, ”I loved running as a kid, and ran for Sunderland Harriers before I decided to concentrate on Football. I can't wait to see everyone setting off and I'm getting ready for a few high fives and selfies.

“We had such tremendous support from the fans when we were in France, I'm looking forward to supporting all these amazing people as they take on their own personal challenge.”

 Jill will be joined by her Manchester City team mate and England Captain Steph Houghton. Steph, from Durham, will also be supporting friends and family running for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation

Steph said, “I am delighted to be back home in the North East and it is an honour to be helping start this iconic event.

“The Simplyhealth Great North Run really shows the power of sport and what it can achieve. There will be so many people running for causes close to their hearts and raising an incredible amount of money for various charities.

“I'm looking forward to being able to wish them all the best of luck in person on the day”. 

The Great North Run was announced as an official partner of Made by Sport, when the campaign was launched by HRH The Duke of Sussex, Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams in June.

Created to support the vital work of grassroots sports clubs around the UK. It aims to champion the power sport has to change lives and raise £40 million in additional funds for organisations that are using sport to transform the lives of young people in the UK over the next four years.  

This year the event is highlighting the work of the amazing organisations and the extraordinary people that give up their time and energy to sustain them in order to motivate runners to support the Made by Sport fundraising effort at next year's Great North Run. 

Jill, an ambassador for the campaign said, “All three of us here today are a testament to the grass roots sports clubs that supported us throughout our lives.

“Giving young people access to sport gives them so many opportunities and life skills that will enrich their lives and benefit us all as a nation. I hope people get on board with the campaign and think about fundraising for Made by Sport at the 2020 Great North Run”.

All three official starters will join an illustrious band of people who have performed the starting duties over the last 38 years, including stars from the world of sport and entertainment.

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson, Sir Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Kelly Holmes, Ellie Simmonds and Daley Thompson are just some of the celebrated Olympians and Paralympians who have fired the starters' pistol.

From the world of football, Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley, Peter Reid, Jackie Charlton and Lucy Bronze are among those who have set runners on their way.

Music legends Sting and Mark Knopfler and TV stars Ant and Dec have also undertaken the official starters' duties on the central motorway in Newcastle.

The Simplyhealth Great North Run, which has 57,000 accepted entries, will be broadcast live on BBC One from 09.30 to 13.30 on Sunday, 8 September with highlights on BBC Two at 5pm.

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