Tens of thousands of runners paid tribute to the Queen in Newcastle on Sunday morning at the start line of the Great North Run.
Participants and spectators bowed their heads as the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Revd Mark Wroe, who, joined by faith leaders from across the city, led the crowd in a moment of remembrance. A poignant minute’s silence was then followed by the national anthem.
The event, one of the first mass gatherings in the country to take place since the death of the Queen, is expected to raise around £25 Million pounds in donations to worthy causes.
Sir Brendan Foster, Founder of the Great North Run said: “It was a privilege to able to bring people together and give them opportunity to pay tribute to the Queen at today’s event.
“The atmosphere on the start line was reflective, the nation has lost someone whose death is a defining moment for all of us, and who will be in our hearts and minds not just today and tomorrow but long into the future.
“The Great North Run has always been about a sense of togetherness, of shared endeavour, and of community pride and spirit – qualities the Queen embodied and committed her whole life to upholding. The runners today ran in that same spirit.”
The event saw runners take on the iconic 13.1 mile course from Newcastle city centre, across the Tyne Bridge and finishing in South Shields, for the first time since 2019 due to pandemic related changes.
Ahead of the masses, a world class field took on the elite race. Kenya’s Hellen Obiri repeated her victory of 12 months ago, while Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won the men’s race following a thrilling three-way battle for much of the race distance.
Obiri was given a tough test by Peres Jepchirchir and Almaz Ayana, the three crossing the line with only five seconds separating them.
Obiri crossed the line in 67.05, with Jepchirchir two seconds behind in 67.07, and Ayana in 67.10. First Brit over the line was Charlotte Purdue, who ran a largely solo race to finish in fifth with a time of 70.11.
Winner Obiri said: “I’m very happy to win again, although of course this route was different to last year. The crowds were so good, I am very pleased to win here.”
In the men’s race, Kiplimo quietly and confidently picked off his opponents, with 2013 winner Kenenisa Bekele, who finished an eventual third, dropping first, followed by second-place Selemon Barega with about four miles to go, leaving Kiplimo with clear air to finish in 59.33, Barega in 60.39 and Bekele in 61.01.
Kiplimo said: “The race was good – it was a great feeling to win. It was a strange feeling to run the last few kilometres on my own. From 10KM it was four or five of us, then three, then two, then just me.
“This is a wonderful crowd. Around 18-19KM the crowds were amazing. Everyone was cheering and smiling.
“When I heard the news (about the Queen) I thought the race was going to be cancelled – I was so happy to hear it was still going ahead. It is very sad news but it was good for us all to come together.”
2022 winner Marc Scott was first British runner home in sixth with a time of 62.28.
He said: “It was a very different kind of race due to the events of the last few days but it’s a great event as always. They know how to put an event on here in the North East. I’m just grateful to be part of it again, especially with a great field assembled.”
In the wheelchair races, David Weir won his eighth Great North Run in 42.49, closely followed by Daniel Sidbury in 43.01 and Nathan Maguire further back in a time of 46.40. Eden Rainbow-Cooper crossed the line in 51:27, just edging out Scotland’s Sammy Kinghorn on the line. Shelly Woods came third in 54:50.
Next year’s Great North Run will take place on Sunday, September 10.