If you’re a sporty type who enjoys a good race, the odds are you’ll be familiar with the Great North Run. Alternatively, if you’re allergic to sport, then this particular race could be your ultimate nightmare! Either way, according to its organisers, this annual event is now the world's most popular half-marathon, which started life in 1981 when more than 10,000 runners took part. In 2012, over 50,000 men and women took to the streets of the North East on 16th September 2012, many of them racing for their favourite charities.
One such runner was Jason Hunt, an employee of Mecca Bingo from Ellesmere Port, who completed the 13.1 mile road race in just over two hours. Jason was running alongside 94 other colleagues from 57 Mecca clubs around the UK, with all of them on a mission to raise vital funds for the bingo brand’s nominated charity – Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Whilst Jason finished in a very respectable 16,245th position, strict competition was afoot at the front of this year’s half-marathon. Despite miserably wet weather conditions on the day, Wilson Kipsang from Kenya (who is the world’s second-fastest marathon runner ever) sprinted to victory in an impressive 59 minutes, and 6 seconds, defeating his fellow countryman, Micah Kogo, by a mere second. In the women’s category, Tirunesh Dibaba from Ethopia took first place with 1:07:35, and wheelchair users, John Cassidy and Jane Egan were first in their men’s and women’s categories, with finishing times of 43:18 and 1:15:00 respectively.
The Mecca Bingo gang decided to do things in style by dressing as superheroes for the event, and were aiming to raise more than £50,000 for their favourite good cause. Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Director of Fundraising, Fabian French, said that it was the “biggest team we've ever had from a single operation take part in an event.” Since Mecca started raising funds for the charity, they've raised over £500,000, which is an incredible achievement.
Two members of the Burton club, Steven Patterson and Gavin Bent, also did their company and Marie Curie proud by completing the race in 02:35:34 and 02:18:46 respectively.
Have any of our readers ever taken part in the Great North Run? Perhaps you even entered this year’s race! Would you like to see more of your favourite bingo brands entering events like these for charity and if so, what other kinds of things would you like to see them do to raise funds?