Great North Run is a roaring success again as Hartlepool backs charity causes

Colin Close took part in the race alongside twin brother Paul.
Colin Close took part in the race alongside twin brother Paul.
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Thousands pounded the streets of the North East as the world’s biggest half-marathon returned to the region.

Over 50,000 people took part in the Great North Run between Newcastle and South Shields.

Steve Nichol was one of seven running in just speedos.

Steve Nichol was one of seven running in just speedos.

Olympic legend Mo Farah again wowed the crowds with a superb display, winning the men’s race.

To many, though, it is the charity and fun runners who really make the event what it is, and they were out in force once again as thousands of pounds were raised for good causes.

Among them was Steve Nichol, 38, from Blackhall, who was running for Hartlepool and District Hospice.

One of a group of seven staff from SK Foods wearing only leopard print Speedos, it was Steve’s seventh Great North Run.

The crowd was brilliant, amazing. From start to finish, you could feel the support

Colin Close

Also in the team were Tony Harvey, Dan Cox, Liam Harvey, Carl Wright, Luke Cox and Steve Robson.

Food factory quality manager Mr Nichol finished in two hours, six minutes.

He said: “It was good, but I got a bit burnt with not wearing any sun block.

“It was a comfortable run and the crowd was great, especially when you’re wearing only speedos.

“Last year, I did it for Cancer Research UK, and when I washed the paint off, I had the Cancer Research logo tattooed on my arm.”

The group ranged from age 25 to 50, and raised vital funds for the hospice.

It costs several million pounds a year to keep up and running and only receives a small amount of funding from the Government.

It needs to raise £4,877 every day through voluntary contributions to make sure the people who use the services receive the right care, when and where they need it.

Colin Close, 46, a plumber from Clifton Avenue, Hartlepool, completed the course in one hour, 45 minutes.

He was taking part in the event for the second time, and made a donation ahead of the race to Macmillan Cancer Support.

He said: “I was pleased with my time.

“It was a warm day and that doesn’t always help, but it was good.

“I was running with my twin brother Paul, who moved to London about 15 years ago.

“The crowd was brilliant, amazing. From start to finish, you could feel the support.”

Farah won the event for the third year in a row, just weeks after securing two more Olympic gold medals.

In the women’s race, meanwhile, Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot came out on top.