Grandfather, 72, among finishers at 2016 Great North Run

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A 72-year-old grandfather was among the thousands of fun runners taking part in the 2016 Great North Run.

Mo Farah may have won the men's elite section of world's biggest half marathon, but it was also a day worth celebrating for Bob Balmer, who completed the race for the 35th time, having run every Great North Run since 1981.

Bob Balmer, 72.

Bob Balmer, 72.

The granddad-of-three, who has been a member of South Shields Harriers for 42 years, plans to continue for as long as he is able to.

The pensioner said: "I did it in two hours, 16 minutes, and 36 seconds, which was exactly an hour slower than 25 years ago.

"I hope to keep going for as long as I am able to, but it definitely gets harder.

"When I walk, my feet hurt, and when I run, my legs hurt - but that was only for the last two miles."

Mo Farah gives a press conference after winning the Great North Run 2016.

Mo Farah gives a press conference after winning the Great North Run 2016.

South Shields-born Ian McGregor, 45, was running for the sixth time, this time in aid of Bright Northumberland.

The account director was running for the sixth time, but said his result of two hours, 11 minutes was "probably" his worst so far.

He said: "I just came back from two weeks' holiday in Greece, so I haven't done a lot of training.

"It was alright, quite hard at the start, but it was a nice run.

Ross Robertson.

Ross Robertson.

"The atmosphere was fantastic.

"I loved to see everyone run for charities, I think that's the most important thing.

"The amount of people coming out onto the streets was fantastic - it never ceases to amaze me.

"They were buying jelly babies, ice pops and icecreams, and handing them out."

Mo Farah after his victory.

Mo Farah after his victory.

Andrew West, 26, from Jarrow, completed his third Great North Run in two hours, 15 minutes.

"This was my third time doing the Great North Run," he said.

"I rasied about £200 for St Claire's Hospice.

"the atmosphere was fantastic and they were so supportive all the way around the course.

"We all gave Mo Farah a big roar at the start and it's great to hear he won it again."

Ross Robertson, 36, from South Shields, was taking part for the 11th time, raising money for Farplace Animal Sanctuary, in Bishop Auckland.

Winner Mo Farah, with Dathan Ritzenhein (second) and Emmanuel Bett (
third).

Winner Mo Farah, with Dathan Ritzenhein (second) and Emmanuel Bett ( third).

Ross, who is part of Vegan Running, said: "I found it easier than previous years, but it's still a pretty tough run.

The digital editor set a new personal best, finishing in 1 hour, 53 minutes.

He said: "It's the best time I've done it in, so I'm very pleased."

Mo Farah won the men's elite race with a time of 1.00.04, closely followed by American Dathan Ritzenhein, second at 1.00.12, and Kenyan Emmanuel Brett, with 1.01.22.

The women's race was won by Vivien Cheruiyot, from Kenya, who celebrated her birthday with a time of 1.07.54, closely followed by fellowed Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo, in second place with 1.07.55, and Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba in third place, with a time of 1.08.04.

The wheelchair race was won by Mark Telford with a time of 0.49.02, followed by Bret Crossley, in second with 0.49.03, and Callum Hall, third, with 0.50.42.

Paraplegic Claire Lomas, who is 16 weeks pregnantm walked the race in a bionic suit. She was the first to cross the finish line, at 10am, having set off five days earlier.