At the time of writing, there are 49 Elite Men who have been named to participate in the 2017 Great North Run, and Mo Farah is the most famous of those for obvious reasons. Other big names to watch out for are Dathan Ritzenhein, who finished in 2nd place in 2016 and won this year’s Great Manchester Run, five-times World Champion Bernard Lagat and New Zealand record holder Zane Robertson.
The Elite Women list has 35 names on it so far, and is headed by five-times World Champion, 2016 Olympic Champion and 2016 Great North Run winner Vivian Cheruiyot. Mary Keitany, who won this race in 2014 and 2015, will also be participating, as will Great Britain’s own Alyson Dixon.
The Great North Run is dominated by runners, but many wheelchair users also participate, and this year’s list of Elite Wheelchair competitors include 2017 Great Manchester Run winner Simon Lawson, Josh Cassidy, who achieved 3rd place here in 2015, and Rafa Botello Jiminez, who achieved his own 3rd place finish here in 2014.
Celebrity spotters always fare well at the Great North Run, and confirmed famous faces who will be participating this Sunday include BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth, television presenter Davina McCall, comedian Rob Deering, ITV News presenter Ian Payne and former 800m Paralympic gold medallist Tim Prendergast.
Whilst the Elite and celebrity participants are well worth keeping an eye on, the majority of people who participate in the Great North Run are enthusiastic amateurs, and their motivation for taking part varies considerably. Some get involved simply because they love running, others do it for the sheer sake of being part of the event, and still others do it in order to cross it off their bucket list. Many participants also run to help raise a huge amount of money for various charitable organisations, including Cancer research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Oxfam and the NSPCC.
We are looking forward to seeing how the Elite runners perform this year, and particularly to seeing if Mo Farah and Vivian Cheruiyot can follow up their 2016 successes with another win, but we wish everyone who runs (or wheels) this Sunday the very best of luck, and we will keep our fingers crossed for comfortable weather conditions.