History-making South Shields FC went the extra mile as they made their mark on and off the track at one of the region’s top running events.
The Mariners – who won their fourth trophy of last season at Wembley in May – were the honorary starters of the Simplyhealth Great North 10k event, in Gateshead, this morning.
Players Julio Arca, Dillon Morse and Luke Sullivan also taking part in the run, which finished inside Gateshead International Stadium.
They finished in a time of 43:23, having been set on their way by team-mates Carl Finnigan, Craig Baxter and Stephen Ramsey, and joint manager Lee Picton.
Picton said: “It was a huge honour to be invited to be the starters of this year’s event.
“This has been an incredible year for the club, on and off the pitch, and of course last season was topped off with our win at Wembley in the FA Vase final.
“That was one of four trophies we won last season and we have received some humbling recognition since then, with this being one of those moments.
“We loved being part of it and setting the runners on their way, including Julio, Dillon and Luke, who all did excellently.”
Over 5,000 participants pounded the pavements of Gateshead in the event.
A minute’s applause was held before the run in memory of inspirational six-year-old Bradley Lowery, who died after a battle with neuroblastoma on Friday.
A record number of entrants took on the route along the Newcastle-Gateshead quayside, passing Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
Two-hundred Gurkha recruits from Catterick Garrison gathered on the start line in their own separate wave and took on the event as part of their armed forces training.
The first male athlete across the line was of Matty Hynes, who sprinted home in a time of 31:45.
He said: “It was a great race. I’ve had every position on the podium now and I’m really pleased to get the first.
“It’s a brilliant course and the stadium is packed today so thanks to the crowd for cheering me over the finish line.”
In the women’s race, Sarah Laverty of Edinburgh AC claimed victory in 37:28.
She said: “There was a really good atmosphere. Lots of people coming the other way were even shouting for each other, so the atmosphere was great.”