STARS from stage and screen joined nearly 3,000 runners at today’s tenth anniversary Great Yorkshire Run in Harrogate.
Runners once again pounded the pavements of the spa town, lining up on Montpellier Hill before passing the Valley Gardens, the Royal Horticultural Society’s Harlow Carr Gardens and the Stray on the scenic 10k route.
They were joined by of stars from ITV’s Emmerdale, including Matthew Wolfenden, Eden Taylor-Draper, Chris Chittell and Tony Audenshaw. The show shoots its exterior scenes at the nearby Harewood Estate.
The celebrity runners were supporting the blood cancer charity Bloodwise.
Chris Chittell, who plays Eric Pollard in the show, said: “The Great Yorkshire Run has come to such a lovely town like Harrogate for the first time and these fantastic courses are what keep Bloodwise runners returning year after year.
“The atmosphere is amazing and people really make a day of it as well.”
Runners were set on their way by Britain’s most famous women’s institute members, the Calendar Girls, who were the event’s honorary starters. The Yorkshire ladies are famous for producing a nude calendar which has raised £4m and inspired many copycats.
Angela Baker, Miss February in the alternative WI calendar, said: “The Calendar Girls are delighted to be involved with the Great Yorkshire Run.”
The event is sponsored by the brewery T&R Theakston in Masham, North Yorkshire.
The first male athlete across the line was Jason Cherriman, who sprinted home in a time of 32:55, swiftly followed by Joe Sagar in 33:53 in second place with Tristan Learoyd following in third with 34:04.
Mr Cherriman, who is part of Leeds City AC and is originally from Harrogate, said: “It’s a real honour to win the event on the first time that it’s been staged in Harrogate. My family all live in the town and I come back here regularly so it’s a really good feeling.
“The course was tough but a good challenge and very worthwhile to be able to say I came first!”
In the women’s race, Sharon Barlow claimed victory in 37:10 ahead of Ruth Jones who followed her across the line in 40:02. Third place was claimed by Rhona Haslam in 41:28.
Ms Barlow, who is from Northern Ireland and runs with Darlington Harriers, said: “I am really surprised with that result, it’s amazing to be the first woman across the line.
“I knew Harrogate is hilly, I found the route quite tough and for that course, I think my time was really good.
“The atmosphere was incredible and it was great to see everyone cheering you on as you head down that bank.”
John Mayock, of The Great Run Company, said: “Harrogate has a great reputation for hosting successful cultural and sporting events. This year is the 10th staging of the Great Yorkshire Run and it is fitting that the event has moved to a world-famous town to celebrate such a huge milestone.”