When October 5, 2008
First Man Tsegaye Kebede 59:45
First Woman Gete Wami 1:08:51
Last Finisher 4:54:28
No. of Finishers 37,121
The Great North Run is not the world’s biggest half-marathon for nothing. Despite the year-on-year growth, the organisers continue to pull off a fantastic race experience – and that’s without even mentioning the Faustian pact they’ve obviously made with the god of
The 28th edition of the race this year was no different. Lashing rain and freezing temperatures the day before gave way to glorious sunshine on race morning, as British Olympic gold medallists Chris Hoy and Rebecca Adlington turned up on the start line for a photoshoot and a few words of encouragement to the masses shortly before the start.
The route, a point-to-point course from Newcastle to South Shields via Gateshead, is largely flat, aside from two long, slow climbs between miles three and four, and 11 and 12. As ever, a vast and staggeringly vociferous crowd turned out, many of whom had set up ad hoc fuel stations and were variously offering ice lollies, orange wedges, boiled sweets and bottles of beer to the runners (you’d be surprised how many opted for the booze).
The final mile stretch along the sea front has to be among the most invigorating finishes around, and the Red Arrows display at the finish was suitably spectacular. The only issue is that the event organisers have yet to find an adequate way to prevent a traffic logjam after the race.