Victory for marathon veteran in 30th year for Great North Run

Mark Casci

THOUSANDS joined the Great North Run yesterday as the event celebrated its 30th year.

A total of 54,000 runners participated in the 13.1 mile half marathon from Newcastle to South Shields, with crowds lining the race route throughout to cheer them on.

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Veteran marathon runner Haile Gebrselassie added another title to his seemingly never-ending list of accolades with a commanding victory against the elite athletes.

The 37-year-old Ethiopian, the marathon world-record holder and two-time Olympic 10,000 metres champion, who was competing in Great North Run for the first time, broke away at the halfway point to claim victory well ahead of Kenya’s Kiplimo Kimutai.

In the women’s race, Mara Yamauchi’s bid to become the first British winner since Paula Radcliffe in 2003 ended in disappointment as she could only finish fifth behind another Ethiopian, Berhane Adere.

However the majority of the entrants were not professional athletes, running for their own sense of achievement or to raise money for charity.

A host of celebrities took part including X Factor winner Joe McElderry and chef Gordon Ramsay.