Great North Run attracts crowds

The Red Arrows fly over the Tyne Bridge The Red Arrows flew over the Tyne Bridge as runners streamed over it

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Thousands of people have taken part in this year's Great North Run.

The famous half marathon, which attracted 54,000 entrants, was started by the newly crowned world 5,000m champion Mo Farah.

He was joined by Dr Emma Egging, the widow of Red Arrow pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging who died in a crash in August.

The runners watched as the Red Arrows flew over the start line and later over the Tyne Bridge.

They flew over the bridge in the "missing man" formation in memory of Flt Lt Egging, 33, from Rutland.

Dr Egging also joined the thousands running. She and her husband used to run together.

She ran with the Red 4 number on her vest, reflecting the position her husband flew with the team.

The first to start the course from Newcastle to South Shields were the elite wheelchair athletes.

The men's wheelchair race was won by Canadian Josh Cassidy and the women's by Britain's Shelly Woods.

The women's race was won by Kenya's Lucy Kabuu and the men's by Kenyan Martin Mathathi.

Following the start, Mo Farah shook hands with hundreds of runners as they went past.

Analysis

The first thing you notice is the amiable patience. Thousands of people, waiting. In a queue for a long row of portable toilets, in the queue for their pre-start-line position.

The second thing is the smell - an unmistakable reminder of childhood and sore knees. Antiseptic cream, the runner's friend, easing the chafing and dulling the half marathon pain.

Then they are running and the commentator starts reading out the names of the charities being supported - and does not stop. The list goes on for as long as runners cross the start line. There is a 50-minute-long reminder of why most of these people are here.

Thousands of people were running for a wide range of charities and causes.

Among them was Mark Allison, from County Durham, who ran 3,100 miles across the US in 100 days raising thousands of pounds for charity.

Organisers gave him the number 3,100 to wear on his vest.

A number of celebrities also took part including Nell McAndrew, boxer Tony Jeffries and BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth.

Motorists were warned roads along the route and surrounding areas were closed. Diversions were set up.

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