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Great North Run returns after pandemic with new route and British elite winner

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Tens of thousands of runners have celebrated the 40th edition of the Great North Run.

The famous half marathon, which was cancelled last year because of the pandemic, returned with a new route.

Traditionally it ended in South Shields. Now, runners cross the Tyne Bridge twice, starting and finishing in Newcastle to help with social distancing.

Kenya's Hellen Obiri celebrates winning the elite women's race
Image: Kenya’s Hellen Obiri celebrates winning the elite women’s race

There are also staggered start times.

Sky’s north of England correspondent, Gerard Tubb, said the atmosphere, which is “always great”, was “even more so” because people were “relieved to be able to be back”.

Many of those taking part had secured a place last year, only to see it cancelled.

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It is the largest half marathon in the world, with 57,000 people running 13.1 miles (21km).

One of them, Ashley, was on his 20th Great North Run and told Sky News it was “great to have something to train for”.

In contrast, running in lockdown had “no real purpose to it”, he said.

Great Britain's Eilish McColgan finishes second in the women's elite race
Image: Great Britain’s Eilish McColgan finishes second in the women’s elite race

Great Britain’s Marc Scott won the men’s elite race.

Kenya’s Hellen Obiri crossed the line first in the women’s elite race, with Britain’s Eilish McColgan second.