Sunday's Blaydon Race may well go down as one of the sunniest in its 33 year history, with almost 3,500 competitors facing warm temperatures in completing the iconic event. As is customary, runners chimed in for a recital of the 1862 Blaydon Races Song, which opens with "Aa went to Blaydon Races t'was on the Ninth of June."
The race starts from Balmbras in Newcastle, heads down Collingwood Street and along the Scotswood Road past Armstrong's factory, ending at Shibdon Road playing fields in Blaydon. Like last year, the Derwenthaugh Marina section was reduced in distance, meaning runners covered 5.7 miles.
The race saw Ugandan athlete Boniface Kiprop take top billing in a speedy 26:22, with Tewedros Shiferaw second in 26:34 and Wallsend Harriers' Yared Hagos in third position. All of the top five finishers averaged less than 3 min/km over the 6.7 miles.
Kiprop, 10,000m Commonwealth champion in 2006, celebrated his victory in an understated manner and later commented: "The level of competition was very good, but the race went nicely for me and my friend (Shiferaw). We led from about three miles in, and it was only in the last quarter of a mile that I really managed to pull away a little."
The women's event also witnessed an African runner take victory, with Perendis Lekepana first in a time of 29:51. Her Run-Fast team-mate, Emily Biwott, came home less than a minute behind in 30:46, with Rebecca Robinson (30:59) rounding off the top female runners.
Blackhill Bounders' Ian Young, who finished in 34:52, told northernrunningguide.com: "It was a great day yesterday and it definitely brings out the best in north east running. The conditions were hot but I didn't suffer too much. Along with thousands of others, this is the race I look forward to most in the calendar!"
Full results are available here.