Famous faces among thousands of runners at inspirational event

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A HOST of celebrities and sporting stars spoke of their pride in taking part in the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon as they lined up alongside thousands of other runners.

The inaugural marathon in York attracted famous faces from television and sport who paid tribute to the organisers of yesterday’s event and their fellow runners.

Among those taking part was BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration, who completed the course in five hours, 53 minutes and 45 seconds – two days before he celebrates his 63rd birthday.

While he took part in the London Marathon twice during the 1980s, yesterday’s run was made all the more special as it marked a major personal achievement for Mr Gration, who underwent surgery in 2011 and had part of his stomach removed.

Bradford-born Mr Gration, who lives in York, said: “I never dreamed that I would be running a marathon again, but it was too good an opportunity to miss to run in York, which is a city I love.

“The inspiration behind the run is obviously Jane Tomlinson, who was a remarkable woman. But there are so many people taking part raising money for so many good causes.”

Paralympian Hannah Cockroft was among the famous athletes who took part in a corporate relay. The 21-year-old British wheelchair sprinter, born in Halifax, won double gold at last year’s London Paralympic Games, triumphing in the 100m and 200m.

She said: “Lots of respect for everyone who completed today. 10k was hard work but 26.2 miles were done inspired by an amazing lady’s legacy.”

Former Leeds United and England right-back Danny Mills, who had to retire from football due to a knee injury, was also taking part in the corporate relay.

The 36-year-old, who has carved out a successful career as a football pundit, said: “It has been amazing to be a part of this, and great to see so many people out supporting the runners.”