The Great North Run

The 2023 Great North Run saw wins for Kenya and Ethiopia.  The top in the men’s and women’s events were:

1 Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) 1:06:45
2  Sharon Lokedi (KEN) 1:07:43
3  Charlotte Purdue (GBR) 1:09:36
4  Sonia Samuels (GBR) 1:13:43
5 Jessa Hanson (USA) 1:14:12
6 Wakana Itsuki (JPN) 1:14:29

1 Tamirat Tola (ETH) 59:58
2 Bashir Abdi (BEL) 1:01:20
3 Muktar Edris (ETH) 1:01:54
4 Mohamed Farah (GBR) 1:03:28
5 Efrem Gidey (IRL) 1:04:03
6 Andrew Butchart (GBR) 1:04:30

After the race, Jepchirchir told the BBC, “I decided to run by myself,” as she beat New York City Marathon winner Sharon Lokedi to win the women’s Great North Run. Charlotte Purdue was third in the women’s 69:36 as part of her preparation for the Berlin Marathon on September 24. She commented: “I ran pretty much the whole way alone, and I didn’t have a lot to go off. I ran a strong race.”

Mo Farath’s last race, #2, photo by Maragarita Hope

Tola was a comfortable winner on the men’s race with Andrew Butchart sixth in 1:04.30. Butchart, who had run a 10K in Brussels two days previously, will now concentrate on the longer events, as he explained to me: “Track is very enjoyable, and I have done a lot on the track, but I have been thinking for some time about moving up to the marathon. I don’t think I will get much faster on the track, but I think I have the potential to run a good marathon”.

Bridge and Red Arrows by North News

Despite the excellent winning performances, the story on the day was about the man who finished fourth, Mo Farah, who was running his last-ever race.  Now aged 40, having won four Olympic gold medals, claimed six world titles, and become European champion on five occasions, Farah also won the Great North Run six years in a row 2014-2019 with a fastest time of 59:07.

He said: “Honestly, this is it, I’m talking to you as a retired man. It was very emotional, and the last couple of days,

Mo Farath’s last race, photo by Margarita Hope

I was trying to sink it all in. I think this is the right time [to retire]. I’ve found it tough over the past couple of years with my body and not being able to do what I did. To be the best, you’ve got to commit and run 100 miles a week, and over the past couple of years, I’ve struggled to do that”.

The race is also important for club runners, with 43,768 starters.