Athletics: Holmes aiming to cap golden year

For Kelly Holmes, the champagne corks will finally start popping when she crosses the finish line at the end of the BUPA Great North Mile on Newcastle's Quayside this afternoon. For Jon Brown, even if he reached the finish line first in the 13.1 mile Great North Run tomorrow, the celebrations would probably still be as flat as a Dutch landscape.

For Kelly Holmes, the champagne corks will finally start popping when she crosses the finish line at the end of the BUPA Great North Mile on Newcastle's Quayside this afternoon. For Jon Brown, even if he reached the finish line first in the 13.1 mile Great North Run tomorrow, the celebrations would probably still be as flat as a Dutch landscape.

Brown is, by nature, a quiet, contemplative soul. When not pounding the roads and trails around his adopted home in Victoria, Canada, he likes to head to the wilds of British Colombia for a spot of bird watching. If he looked even more wistful than usual yesterday, it was entirely understandable.

Sitting in the restaurant of the Baltic arts centre overlooking Tyneside's Millennium Bridge, he listened to Holmes talk about "exceeding her wildest dreams" by completing her momentous Olympic middle distance double, about her whirlwind of celebrity functions since returning from Athens, and about the celebratory night on the Toon she had planned with her family and friends after completing her racing schedule for the year on the opposite bank of the Tyne.

For Brown, there is nothing to celebrate on Tyneside - nothing tangible, at any rate. Unlike Holmes, he has no Olympic medals from Athens - just the painful memory of fourth place in the marathon, to go alongside precisely the same recollection from Sydney four years previously. "If someone had told me before Athens that I would finish fourth I would have thought, 'Great!'," Brown mused. "When I did come fourth initially I was very disappointed. But on reflection it was a fair result. I was beaten by three better guys on the day. That's how it is."

Although born in Bridgend, and a Canadian resident for eight years now, Brown was raised as a Yorkshireman. The natural pragmatism is helping as the 33-year-old pride of Sheffield Athletics Club looks to the future - towards the World Cross Country Championships next March, at St Galmier in France, and the marathon at next summer's World Championships in Helsinki.

It would also help if Brown were to become the first British man to win the Great North Run since Steve Kenyon in 1985. Just four weeks after his exertions on the road from Marathon to the Panathinaiko Stadium, however, there must be a question mark about the freshness of his legs, if not the keenness of his competitive appetite.

The South African Hendrick Ramaala, the winner on Tyneside last year, will start as favourite. He dropped out of the Olympic marathon after 12 miles, suffering from a hamstring pull, but proved his fitness and form by winning the Dam to Dam 10-mile race in Amsterdam last Sunday in 45 minutes 59 seconds.

Holmes starts favourite in the women's Great North Mile, her first race on British soil since the completion of her Olympic double a month ago. "I feel I have to win," she maintained yesterday. "It would just complete everything for me.

"I've got all my family and friends coming up from Kent, 15 of them in a coach. We're all going out to celebrate after the race, because I haven't had a chance to do that yet. It'll be a messy night. I don't drink but I think I will be tomorrow night. I'm so busy I've only managed to find a four-day gap in my schedule for a holiday. I've just got so much going on."

Hangover providing, Holmes will fire the starting gun to set the 40,000 Great North runners on their way from Newcastle to South Shields tomorrow morning - then head off to London for the Celebrity Television Awards. Would she be presenting the prizes, then? "No, I'm getting one, apparently," the golden girl confided.

Suggested Topics
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations should be regarded as an offensive act
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
News
people
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SCO Supervisor Electrical

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client based in the Midlands is looki...

Ecommerce Executive

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Ecommerce Executive Working with an...

Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Supply teaching - A great w...

Training Programme Manager (Learning and Development)-London

£28000 - £32000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manage...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices