RUNNERS from Hartlepool and East Durham played their part in the historic Great North Run which saw it’s millionth participant.
Local entrants ran their socks off to raise thousands of pounds for a range of causes close to their hearts.
It was a historic day for the world’s biggest half marathon which saw the event’s one millionth competitor, Tracey Cramond from Darlington, cross the finishing line.
Among this year’s 57,000 runners was the seven-strong Team Sally Holbrook from Hartlepol.
They ran in memory of Sally, who tragically died aged 48 in a car crash near Greatham, two days before Christmas in 2012.
Her husband, careers advisor Phil, 53, who was also in the car, was left with 30 broken bones, including a shattered pelvis, and had to learn to walk again.
But he completed his 24th Great North Run in around two hours 45 minutes.
Phil was joined on the 13.1-mile route by team members Emma Blake, Phil Dunn, Marc Sigsworth, Greta Luksyte, Nicola Davie and Paul Brennen, all in aid of Hartlepool & District Hospice.
Phil said: “I was thinking of Sally before, during and after the race.
“It was very emotional at the end. But it was a good experience and everyone came up trumps on the day.”
Andrew Drummond, 37, of Ellison Street, Hartlepool, was cheered on his way to the finishing line in just under two hours by his family including wife Jill and three-year-old son Crosby.
Andrew, a self-employed training consultant, is raising money for the Sick Children’s Trust, which helped his family after Crosby was seriously ill after he was born two months premature.
He said: “It was tough but I had put the miles in and that helped.
“My family were about 500 metres from the finishing line which proved a nice motivational boost.
“There was nothing left in the tank when I actually crossed the line.”
The run was a family affair for Robbie Flannery, of the Headland, who completed his first race after shedding four stones in a year after the shock death of a colleague.
Robbie, 49, entered with his daughter Claire and son-in-law and Jason Wallace, of King Oswy, Hartlepool.
They have raised over £5,000 so far for the British Heart Foundation.
Robbie, who crossed the line in two hours 14 minutes, said: “I struggled a few times but the training paid off.
“The atmosphere was unbelievable, everyone was clapping and giving you high fives.”
Husband and wife Phil and Sam Unsworth, completed their seventh Great North Run for the Peterlee-based Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation.
The couple, who run Guappo Hair Design, in Front Street, Shotton Colliery, have raised around £600 from clients.
Phil, 42, said: “We both beat our times for last year so we are over the moon.
“Also it was great to be part of an event that Mo Farah won.”
Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper and club staff took part for the Finlay Cooper Fund.
Cooper, who did it in one hour 44 minutes said: “It’s a great event, I really enjoy it and I was a proud man wearing the Finlay Cooper Fund vest.”
The other HUFC staff members included Jim Provett and Nick Green.