Sunday, September 20, 2009


Thousands of runners have finished the 29th annual Great North Run on Tyneside.
A record 54,000 people took part in the half-marathon between Newcastle and South Shields.
About 30,000 spectators lined the route to cheer the participants on towards the finish line.
Musician Sting and Ashes-winning England cricketer Steve Harmison sounded the starting gun for this year's race.

Sting flew in from the United States to start the race with Steve Harmison.

Sting said: "It is so exciting to be here and the atmosphere is incredible.
"It is a perfect day with blue skies and everybody is smiling."

Kenya's Martin Lel claimed victory in the elite men's race for the second time in his career, while Portugal's Jessica Augusto broke away early to score an easy victory in the elite women's event.
Britain's David Weir broke the men's wheelchair course record by over a minute, while American Amanda McGrory won the women's wheelchair title.
The first celebrity to finish the race was Olympic rower James Cracknell.
Other famous entrants this year included chef Gordon Ramsey, EastEnders actors Kara Tointon and Joe Swash, and Hull City manager Phil Brown.
Sir Bobby Robson's son Mark, who ran to raise funds for his late father's cancer foundation, said: "He was the honorary starter for the race twice and I always remember him saying that his hand nearly fell off because he shook so many hands.
"He loved doing it and it is a great event".
The first Great North Run took place in June 1981 with 12,770 runners.



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