'We felt it was the right thing to do' - Sir Brendan Foster believes the Queen would have wanted Great North Run to go ahead

Sir Brendan Foster believes The Queen would have wanted the Great North Run to go ahead as thousands of runners used Sunday’s event to pay tribute to the late monarch.

A minute's silence was held in memory of Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the Great North Run.
A minute's silence was held in memory of Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the Great North Run.

The even founder, who received his CBE from The Queen, addressed the 60,000 runners as they prepared to set off on the 13.1miles from Newcastle to South Shields after organisers decided to go ahead with the annual event.

A minute’s silence at the start line was impeccably observed, while many runners chose to add the Union Jack to their outfits as a further mark of respect.

Sir Brendan said: “We felt it was in tune with what would have been The Queen’s wishes in our view. People coming together as a community, coming together to do what they aimed for, to be the best version of themselves they could be to raise money for charities.

Many taking part in the Great North Run chose to wear the Union Jack as part of their outfits.

“She spent a lot of her life raising money for charity, so we felt it was the right thing to do.

“If you look at the atmosphere, it’s reflective – the overriding picture of The Queen there, ’26 to ’22, an amazing life she led and a great example to us all,

“To fair and to be honest, I was much more emotional when it happened than I ever thought I would be because it takes you to your own family. It takes you to loss you’ve suffered before and she’d been a constant in our lives, and then she’s gone.

“It was a difficult time for everyone, but I think the mood is sombre a little.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad
A woman sports a Union Jack outfit as she cheers on those taking part in the Great North Run.

World record holder Jacob Kiplimo became the first Ugandan man to win the run on an emotional day on Tyneside.

The 21-year-old, the reigning world half-marathon champion, crossed the line in 59.33, 66 seconds ahead of Olympic 10,000m champion Selemon Barega, with Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele third in 1.01.01.

Kiplimosaid: “I enjoyed the race, the atmosphere was nice, the crowd was nice.”

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Last year’s winner Marc Scott, from Northallerton, finished sixth in a time of 1.02.28.

In the women’s race, defending champion Hellen Obiri held off Peres Jepchirchir and Almaz Ayana to retain her title.

Kenyan Obiri made the decisive kick in sight of the finish line as she clocked 1.07.05, 37 seconds faster than last year, with compatriot Jepchirchir, the Olympic marathon champion, two seconds behind and Ethiopia’s Ayana a further three seconds adrift.

Obiri said: “It’s good for me because I won last year and I won this year on different courses.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“It’s a great opportunity to do a faster one than last time, so I’m so happy.”

Briton Charlotte Purdue, who finished third last year, came home in fifth place in 1.10.11.

Great Britain’s David Weir powered his way to a ninth Great North Run victory in the men’s wheelchair race, coming homing in 42.59, two seconds ahead of compatriot Daniel Sidbury with Nathan Maguire third in 46.40.

There was an even tighter finish in the women’s race, where Eden Rainbow-Cooper and Samantha Kinghorn sprinted over the line in 51.27, with Rainbow-Cooper getting there just 0.07 of a second ahead of Shelly Woods in third in 54.50.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

Seven-time Paralympic champion Hannah Cockcroft finished fifth in 56.36.