Thousands of runners pound the streets in Great North 10k

Around half of the Great North 10k runners will be back for the Great North Run in September.
Around half of the Great North 10k runners will be back for the Great North Run in September.

Thousands of runners defied the heat to pound the pavements in a run celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Simplyhealth Great North 10k is the North East's biggest 10k run, and saw 5,000 participants tackle the scenic riverside route.

Colin Burgin-Plews, aka The Big Pink Dress, was one of the more colourful participants in the Great North 10k.

Colin Burgin-Plews, aka The Big Pink Dress, was one of the more colourful participants in the Great North 10k.

Having started in Sunderland in 2009, since 2011 the event has taken runners along the Newcastle-Gateshead Quayside, passing Sage Gateshead, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

The route also passes under the Tyne Bridge, an iconic feature of its sister event, the Simplyhealth Great North Run.

More than half of the runners who conquered their 10k challenge today are going on to take part in the world’s biggest half marathon this September.

Among today's runners were 200 Gurkha recruits from Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, who run every year as part of their training. They gathered on the start line in their own separate wave. Participants crossed the finish line on the track in the famous Gateshead International Stadium, with their families and friends cheering from the stands.

The Great North 10k took runners on a route along the Newcastle-Gateshead quayside.

The Great North 10k took runners on a route along the Newcastle-Gateshead quayside.

The first male athlete across the line was Chris Steele, who sprinted home in a time of 33:16, closely contested by Conrad Franks from Gateshead Harriers & AC in 33:23 in second place, with John Clifford of Evenwood Road Runners third in 34:22.

In the women’s race, Gemma Steel claimed victory in 35:22, more than two minutes ahead of Danielle Smythe, who followed her across the line in 37:57. Third place was claimed by Mary Ferrier in 39:59.

This afternoon, families and young runners enjoyed the Simplyhealth Great North Family Run, with 400 people and their families tackling a one-mile route around the stadium.

Laura Miller, from Simplyhealth, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people making the most of life as they completed the Simplyhealth Great North 10k with smiles on their faces as family and friends cheered them over the line.

200 Gurkhas do the Great North 10k every year as part of their Army training.

200 Gurkhas do the Great North 10k every year as part of their Army training.

“We were there helping runners to kickstart their recovery with our Simplyhealth Stretch Zone and free post-event massage. Congratulations to everyone who took part.”

The 2019 Simplyhealth Great North 10k Gateshead will take place on Sunday, July 7, and entries are open now. To find out more and enter the event, visit greatrun.org/north10k

A runner takes on some refreshment during today's Great North 10k.

A runner takes on some refreshment during today's Great North 10k.

High fives for a runner in the Great North 10k.

High fives for a runner in the Great North 10k.

5,000 runners took part in the Great North 10k.

5,000 runners took part in the Great North 10k.