It was a record breaking day in Gateshead as the Great North 10K witnessed its largest ever field while the event also saw its largest club participation to date as 235 runners from 11 clubs across the region competed. Sunderland Harrier Sparrow Morley tasted success on Sunday in his third attempt, while Gateshead Harrier Michelle Nolan was first female.
The 10k saw over 5,000 participants tackle a route that takes in iconic landmarks on the Quayside including Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge before crossing the finish line on the iconic Gateshead International Stadium track.
Runners were given their starting orders by folk-rock band Lindisfarne – known for their hits Fog on the Tyne and Run For Home. Some recognisable faces dotted the massive field, with two-hundred Gurkha soldiers tackling the race as part of their intensive 39 week training course.
Victory was all the sweeter for Morley as he found himself in a familiar setting: “This is the third time I have run the Great North 10K but it feels great to come first for the very first time. I train in this stadium so it’s a special moment. I’ve run up that hill many times and although it’s tough, there were a lot of supporters round there and they really helped you make it to the top.”
Nolan, meanwhile, was the comprehensive winner in the female competition, crossing the line in 38:24, almost two minutes ahead of Mary Ferrier (40:19). Louise Talman took third in 42:00. The weekend also saw the first staging of two brand new family events, the Great North 10K Family Mile and the Great North 10K Toddler Dash, as organisers aimed to encourage younger runners to compete in the full 10k in years to come.