Great North Run 2023: Thousands to embark on half marathon


Runners including a man in a Union Jack shirt cross the Tyne BridgeImage source, PA Media

Image caption,

About 60,000 people took part in the 41st Great North Run

Thousands of people are about to embark upon the 42nd Great North Run.

The race in 2020 had to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic and changes were made to the event in 2021 to allow for social distancing.

Last year’s run started with a minute’s silence following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Organisers The Great Run Company said about 60,000 runners will be following the traditional route from Newcastle, through Gateshead to South Shields.

The run will be officially started by Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe.

County Durham entrepreneur and BBC “dragon” Sara Davies, comedian Lee Ridley, who lives in Newcastle, and Emmerdale stars Laura Norton and Isabel Hodgins are among the celebrities taking part.

Image source, Rusby Media

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The idea of Lee Ridley being pushed round the course in a wheelchair started out as a joke between friends but quickly escalated

The event will also be Sir Mo Farah’s last race as a professional athlete.

Many runners are are tackling the 13.1 mile (21km) route to support charities and other causes, raising an estimated £25m.

One will be running the half marathon carrying a 6st (40kg) tumble dryer.

Stephen Sinclair, 35, from Ashington, Northumberland, was told he might never exercise again after a life-threatening blood clot and is raising money for the North East Autism Society.

Bill Cooksey – at 102 years old – hopes to become the oldest person to finish the Great North Run.

The centenarian, from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, who walks about two miles a day to keep fit, is raising funds to support his local NHS Trust charity.

Another participant, Andrew Leather from South Shields, is attempting to complete the run 10 years after a life-altering stroke.

Image source, Stephen Sinclair

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Stephen Sinclair climbed Scafell Pike in the Lake District as part of his training

Additional mainline and Metro train services are in operation to cope with the extra demand as thousands of people travel into Newcastle city centre to the race starting point.

Some Metro stations will be closed at certain times to assist with crowd control.

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