Great North Run gets underway in wet and windy conditions


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The Independent Online

The Great North Run has got underway in wet and windy conditions, with more than 50,000 people setting off from Newcastle this morning.

On the firing pistols were England cricketer Graeme Swann and world 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, while other celebrities taking part included Jo Whiley, Sophie Rayworth and Spice Girl Mel C.

And Mo Farah, the double Olympic champion and star of London 2012, was among the leading pack of elite runners.

It is the 33rd Great North Run, which each year covers 13.1 miles from Newcastle, across the Tyne Bridge and ending on the coast in South Shields.

While chilly weather can work in runners’ favour over long distance events, this year’s conditions are a bit more miserable than many would have been hoping for.

Weather forecaster Jay Wynne told the BBC: “It will be quite cold at the start of the race, particularly standing around in the wind.

“There will probably be around 5mm of rain during the race and maybe some heavier bursts.

“It will be windy as well and there will probably be gusts of 30-40mph, maybe a little bit higher.

“For the main bit of the race down to South Shields the wind should be with them as a cross tail wind and a blustery cross wind when they run along the coast.”

The runners are between them representing hundreds of different charities, and millions of pounds is expected to be raised towards good causes.

During the race it is estimated that over 82,000 litres of water will be drunk by parched runners.