Tyne & Wear

Great North Run to be started by Mo Farah

Red Arrows flying over the Tyne Bridge Photo: John Thirwall
Image caption The Red Arrows have appeared at the Great North Run before

The Bupa Great North Run is to be started by World Championships gold medal winner Mo Farah.

The Red Arrows flying display team will fly over the start line minutes before the athlete fires the starting gun.

The team will fly over the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle in the "missing man" formation to pay tribute to Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, who died in August.

Sunderland's match with Stoke will now kick off at 15:00 BST instead of 13:00 so it does not clash with the event.

Paul Weir, Sunderland's head of safety and security, said the decision to reschedule the match again - it was originally shifted from the Saturday because of Stoke's European commitments - was beyond the club's control.

About 54,000 runners are expected to take part in the annual half-marathon, which ends in South Shields.

'Feels fitting'

Farah, who won gold in the 5,000m at Daegu in South Korea earlier in the month, joins the list of athletes who have performed the starter's duties at the Great North Run, including Dame Kelly Holmes and Jonathan Edwards.

Flt Lt Jon Egging died when his Hawk T1 aircraft crashed near Bournemouth Airport after a display in August.

The Red Arrows performed in public for the first time as an eight-piece in Derbyshire on 2 September.

Graeme Bagnall, the on-the-ground commander for the Red Arrows, said: "The Bupa Great North Run is one of our favourite displays of the season and we were thrilled when asked if we would like to be the honorary starters of the event.

"We are also so pleased to be able to fly over the Tyne Bridge and it feels fitting that we will fly in the missing man formation to honour Jon."

Coverage of the Great North Run can be found on BBC One from 09:30 BST on Sunday.

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