History and TraditionThe Bupa Great North Run is the premier event in the Great Run series and is firmly established as the world’s most popular half-marathon.
1981 Less than 5000 runners were expected to take part in the inaugural race – held on Sunday June 28 – and so organisers were astounded when over 12,500 applied and over 10,000 of them completed the first Great North Run. Local international Mike McLeod, three years before going on to win the Olympic 10000m silver medal, was the winner in 63min 23sec – 71 seconds ahead of Norway’s Oyvind Dahl! And former South Shields Harrier Karen Goldhawk of the Royal Air Force made it a great day for North East athletics winning her race in 77:3.
1982 After the brilliant success of the previous year more than 50,000 fun runners applied for the 20,000 available places. McLeod ran 62:44 – the fastest time ever achieved for a half marathon in Great Britain – to win again. First woman across the line was London Olympiad’s Margaret Lockley in 77:43.
1983 A year before winning the Olympic marathon title, Portugal’s Carlos Lopez became the first overseas winner of the GNR in 62:46 from British international Ray Smedley almost two minutes behind. Crawley’s Julie Barleycorn took the women’s title in a time of 76:38.
1984 Dahl, improving on his position of three years earlier, was first across the finishing line in 64:34 and Grete Waitz, the world marathon record holder, made it a double for Norway with a superb UK All-Comers record of 70:27 seconds – slicing over six minutes off the course record and good enough for 18th position overall in the mixed race.
1985 Salford’s Steve Kenyon equalled McLeod’s course to win with the Elswick Harrier second in 63:31. The women’s record was smashed for a second successive year, Portugal’s Rosa Mota bettering Waitz’s time by 31 seconds.
1986 The stature of the event was recognized when it became the final of the Pearl Assurance half marathon series and also hosted the AAA National Championships. To make the occasion, US-based Kenyan Mike Musyoki won in a world record time of 60:43, knocking 12 seconds off Mark Curp’s previous mark. Behind him Steve Jones set a British record of 60:59. There was also a new Commonwealth and UK All-Comers mark for Australia’s Lisa Martin, who covered the 13.1 miles in 69:49 while Chris Hallam set a new wheelchair course record of 61:15.
1987 There was an Australian double as Rob de Castella, the world champion, won by 20 seconds ahead of Scotland’s Allister Hutton in a time of 62:04seconds while Martin was successful for a second successive year just two seconds slower than in 1986. For the first time the Junior Great North Run preceded the senior race on the previous day with Steve O’Gara from Wallsend the winner.
1988 With the entry limit increased to 27,000, victory went to 1984 Olympic marathon silver medallist John Treacy who ran exactly 61 minutes. Waitz won the women’s event in a new UK All-Comers’ mark of 68:49 seconds. There was a British half marathon record for Bristol schoolteacher Susan Tooby, who ran 69:56.
1989 In the most dramatic finish in the event’s history, McLeod missed out on a third success. Clocking the same time of 62:39, victory was given to Morocco’s El Mostafa Nechadi. But there was a hat-trick of triumphs for Martin, this time in 71:03. Travelling from his family home in Benidorm John Rollins won the junior race.
1990 Steve Moneghetti set a new world record of 60:34 in defeating Douglas Wakiihuri of Kenya by eight seconds. Rose Mota headed both Carla Beurskens and Waitz to win in 69:33.
1991 A virtually unknown former boxer Benson Masya won the men’s race in 61:28 seconds – the third fastest time in the world that year. The Kenyan, later to become the Great North Run’s most successful contestant, held off the challenge of Cannock’s Paul Davies-Hale by nine seconds. Norwegian doyen Ingrid Kristiansen won the women’s event in 70:57.
1992 Incorporating the first ever World Half Marathon Championships, Masya won the race in a world record 60:24. Along with Paul Tergat and Joseph Keino, he also led Kenya to team victory ahead of Great Britain and Brazil. The women’s race provided a superb win for the host nation in the form of Liz McColgan in 68:53. She also picked up a team silver medal with GB behind champion’s Japan while Romania finished third.
1993 Having become the first man to better the one hour for the distance when winning the Stramilano half marathon the previous April in 59 minutes 47 seconds, at his third attempt Moses Tanui won the Great North Run title. In emphatic style the Kenyan won in a UK All-Comers’ record time of 60 minutes 15 seconds ahead of top Britons Paul Evans and Richard Nerurkar who clocked season’s bests of 61 minutes 45 seconds and 61 minutes 53 seconds. It was a double victory for the Kenyan nation. “Tiny” Tegla Loroupe broke away two miles from the finish to win in 72 minutes 55 seconds ahead of Russia’s 1988 Olympic 10000m gold medallist Olga Bondarenko 73 minutes 13 seconds and South Africa’s Zola Budd-Pieterse who recorded 73 minutes 30 seconds.
1994 Masya ran even faster this time out to snatch victory ahead of Moses Tanui in a UK All-Comers record time of 60:02. Separating the pair of Kenyans proved an almost impossible task but a video replay found in favour of Masya Rosanna Munerotto (Italy) was the women’s winner in 71:29 seconds.
1995 Tanui returned after the disappointment of the previous year to win in a time of 60:39 with Masya 80 seconds adrift this time. McColgan, back in action after two years of agony and operations with a knee injury, headed off the challenge of Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia and Portugal’s Manuela Machado to win in 71:42.
1996 Upset at his performance the previous year, Masya returned to win his fourth title with a time of 61:43. McColgan made it two in a row with a time that was 74 seconds better than the previous year.
1997 Tail winds were the order of the day as Hendrikk Ramaala (60:25) and Marian Sutton (69:41) won their respective races.
1998 Shrugging off a chilling North East wind Olympic marathon champion Josiah Thugwane became the second South African to win the Great North Run. The former mine worker steamed to victory in 62:32. On her half-marathon debut, Sonia O’Sullivan made her move for home with four miles remaining to win in 71:50.
1999 Only a week after winning a third successive World Half Marathon title, Tegla Loroupe was beaten into second place by Kenyan training partner Joyce Chepchumba, who finished 28 seconds clear in a time of 69:07. John Mutai achieved a lifetime ambition when taking the men’s title in 60:52.
2000 The Millennium Race was celebrated in marvellous fashion when Paula Radcliffe eclipsed Waitz’s 12-year-old record of 68:49 with a new European record 67:07. Eighteen-year-old Faustin Baha from Tanzania was a runaway winner of the men’s race in 61: 57.
2001 World half marathon record holder Paul Tergat led a Kenyan clean sweep of the medals with a time of 60:30 ahead of Julius Kimtai (61:36) and 1999 champion Mutai (62:49). A rousing finish saw the fastest-ever women over the half marathon distance, Susan Chepkemei, score a superb victory from fellow Kenyan Joyce Chepchumba winning by five seconds in 68:40.
2002 This year’s BUPA Great North Run saw not only 35,142 runners crossing the finishing line but also Paul Kosgei slashing four seconds from Masya’s 1994 record to come in under the one hour mark at 59:58. O’Sullivan claimed the women’s title 67:19.
2003 Radcliffe scorched to a world best and new course record time of 65:40 while the men’s race was dominated once again by the Africans. In a fantastic finish Ramaala just missed out on the course record posting a time of 1:00:01 ahead of Kenyan Jackson Koech.
2004 Australian Benita Johnson (now Willis), in only her second half marathon, was a superb women’s winner in a personal best of 67:55. Dejene Berhanu became the first Ethiopian winner of the GNR in a new record time of 59:37.
2005 Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadesse scorched to a world record time of 59:05 in the 2005 BUPA Great North Run. The women's race saw the ever popular Derartu Tulu claim victory on the course where she had finished on the podium previously but never won during her illustrious career. The Ethiopian, winner of two Olympic 10,000m titles, held off the challenge of her younger compatriate, Worknesh Kidane, while Jelena Prokopcuka was a close third.
2006 Ramaala pulled away from Dejene Berhanu and Dathan Ritzenhein to win in one hour, one minute and one second! In the women’s race, Ethiopian Berhane Adere shrugged off Susan Chepkemi and Benita Johnson in the last 500m to clock 1:10.01
2007 Kara Goucher, with a sensational performance, defeated two-time champion Paula Radcliffe to become the first ever American - man or woman - winner of the BUPA Great North Run in 66:57. Martin Lel won the men's race in a sprint finish eight seconds ahead of world-record holder Sammy Wanjiru for Kenya's first victory since 2002 in 60:10.
2008 Jo Pavey, despite a superlative display, failed by just two seconds from becoming the first British runner since Paula Radcliffe five years earlier, to win the Bupa Great North Run, being beaten by African pair of Gete Wami and Magdalene Mukunzi in the final strides. Tsegay Kebede made it an Ethiopian double with a runway win in the men's race and although running solo for almost the last nine miles, posting a world class time of 59:45.
2009 Lel clocked 59:32 to beat fellow Kenyan Kiplimo Kimutai by 12 seconds with Moroccan Jaouad Gharib third in 60:4. Jessica Augusto couldn't believe it when a half dozen world class African women didn't respond when she and Nikki Chapple broke clear after three miles in the women's event. Augusto, quickly dropping Aussie Chapple, didn't come back as the established stars may have expected but continued to power away and become the first Portuguese to lift the women's title since Rosa Mota in 1990 in a time of 69min 08sec. A great day for Portugal was completed when Augusto's teammate, Ana Dulce Rosa, took third place, also in a lifetime best of 69:48. The wheelchair races saw David Weir and American Amanda McGrory set new course record times of 41:34 and 49:47 respectively.
2010 One of the world's greatest-ever long distance runners, Haile Gebrselassie, made his debut in the Bupa 30th Great North Run and left the field in his wake as he scorched to victory in 59:33 in difficult cold and wet conditions. The great Ethiopian had made a promise to race founder Brendan Foster several years previously that he would take part in the event's 30th anniversary staging and he didn't disappoint with a stunning piece of running, leading from around halfway and finishing almost two minutes ahead of Kiplimo Kimutai with Jaouad Gharib in third. It proved a great day for Ethiopia as Berhane Adere, the 2006 winner, scored a dominant victory ahead of the Portuguese pair of Ana Dulce Felix and Marisa Barros in an impressive time of 68:49. Britain's David Weir won the men's wheelchair event for the second year running (and his fourth overall) while Shelley Woods made it three wins in six year's in the women's wheelchair race.
2011 Mathathi followed in the footsteps of 12 of his previous countrymen when winning the men's race ahead of team mates Jonathan Maiyo and Emmanuel Mutai the first podium clean sweep of the medals from the east African nation for a decade. The 25-year-old who is based in Japan sliced nine seconds from the previous course record belonging to Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese with his fantastic time of 58 minutes 56 seconds.
His victory may have been very convincing but it was the tiny figure of former Commonwealth 10,000 metres champion Lucy Kabuu who thrilled spectators with one of the greatest ever front running performances in the World's biggest half marathon event.
The 27-year-old in her first major race since giving birth to her daughter Angel in May last year and running in a vacuum which saw her win by almost two-and-a-half minutes, clocked the third fastest time over the Newcastle to South Shields course of 1:07:06.
Shelly Woods retained her wheelchair title and won the Bupa Great North Run title for a fourth time in a time of 50:14 ahead of the USA's Amanda McGrory who set the course record of 49:47 and this year clocked 52:43, with Italy's Francesca Porcellato third in 55:01.
With David Weir after a shoulder injury and lacking fitness after the birth of his child, the men's race saw Josh Cassidy of Canada add to his victory of three years in a time 43:57.
2012 On another day of African domination, Wilson Kipsang and Tirunesh Dibaba scored thrilling half marathon victories in wet conditions at the Bupa Great North Run on Sunday.
Kipsang the World's second fastest ever marathon runner stepped down to half the distance and when all seemed lost, rallied in the last 20 metres to defeat fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo by a second in 59 minutes 06 seconds with Imane Merga of Ethiopia third in 59:56.
Dibaba follows in the footsteps of other great Ethiopian superstars, including her cousin Derartu Tulu, Berhane Adere and Gete Wami. Arguably the world's greatest ever track distance runner, with three Olympic gold medals under her belt, made a superfast start to what promises to be a great road running career. She won in a very quick 1:07:35. The 26-year-old was given a close fight by Edna Kiplagat and Olympic Marathon champion Tiki Gelana.
Kenya's Kiplagat, last year's World Marathon gold medallist, challenged her to the bitter end before surrendering to her rival's superior sprinting skills and losing out on a win by six seconds. The winner's teammate Gelana who found the pace to brisk in the last mile finished in 1:07:48.
Canada's Josh Cassidy who scored his first GNR victory in 2008 and again last year, made it a hatrick when easily winning the Wheelchair race by a huge margin in 43:18.
Jane Egan the World and European Paratriathlon title holder took the women's race in 1:15:00 from Liz McTerran and Kirsty Grange who recorded 1:28:21 and 1:32:56.
ROLL OF HONOURMEN
2012 Wilson Kipsang (KEN) 59:06
2011 Martin Mathathi (KEN) 58:56
2010 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) 59:33
2009 Martin Lel (KEN) 59:32
2008 Tsegay Kebede (ETH) 59:45
2007 Martin Lel (KEN) 1:00:10
2006 Hendrick Ramaala (SA) 1:01:03
2005 Zersenay Tadesse (ERIT) 59:05
2004 Dejene Berhanu (ETH) 59:37
2003 Hendrick Ramaala (SA) 1:00:01
2002 Paul Kosgei (KEN) 59:58
2001 Paul Tergat (KEN) 1:00:30
2000 Faustin Baha (TANZ) 1:01:51
1999 John Mutai (KEN) 1:00:52
1998 Josiah Thugwane (SA) 1:02:32
1997 Hendrick Ramaala (SA) 1:00:25
1996 Benson Masya (KEN) 1:01:43
1995 Moses Tanui (KEN) 1:00:39
1994 Benson Masya (KEN) 1:00:02
1993 Moses Tanui (KEN) 1:00:15
1992 Benson Masya (KEN) 1:00:24
1991 Benson Masya (KEN) 1: 01:28
1990 Steve Moneghetti (AUS) 1:00:34
1989 M El Mechchadi (MOR) 1:02:39
1988 John Treacy (IRE) 1:01:00
1987 Rob De Castella (AUS) 1:02:04
1986 M Musyoki (KEN) 1:00:43
1985 Steve Kenyon (GB) 1:02:44
1984 Oyvind Dahl (NOR) 1:04:36
1983 Carlos Lopez (POR) 1:02:46
1982 Mike McLeod (GB) 1:02:44
1981 Mike McLeod (GB) 1:03:23
2012 Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 1:07:35
2011 Lucy Kabuu (KEN) 1:07:06
2010 Berhane Adere (ETH) 1:08:49
2009 Jessica Augusto (POR) 1:09:08
2008 Gete Wami (ETH) 1:08:51
2007 Kara Goucher (USA) 1:06:57
2006 Berhane Adere (ETH) 1:10:03
2005 Derartu Tulu (ETH) 1:07:33
2004 Benita Johnson (AUS) 1:07:55
2003 Paula Radcliffe (GB) 1:05:40
2002 Sonia O'Sullivan (IRE) 1:07:19
2001 Susan Chepkemei (KEN) 1:08:40
2000 Paula Radcliffe (GB) 1:07:07
1999 Joyce Chepchumba (KEN) 1:09:07
1998 Sonia O'Sullivan (IRE) 1:11:50
1997 Luciana Subano (KEN) 1:09:24
1996 Liz McColgan (SCOT) 1:10:28
1995 Liz McColgan (SCOT) 1:11:42
1994 R Munerotto (IT) 1:11:29
1993 Tegla Loroupe (KEN) 1:12:55
1992 Liz McColgan (SCOT) 1:08:53
1991 Ingrid Kristiansen (NOR) 1:10:57
1990 Rosa Mota (POR) 1:09:33
1989 Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:10:43
1988 Grete Waitz (NOR) 1:08:49
1987 Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:10:00
1986 Lisa Martin (AUS) 1:09:45
1985 Rosa Mota (POR) 1:09:54
1984 Grete Waitz (NOR) 1:10:27
1983 Julie Barleycorn (GB) 1:16:39
1982 Margaret Lockley (GB) 1:19:24
1981 Karen Goldhawk (GB) 1:17:36
(GB unless stated)
2012 Josh Cassidy (CAN) 43:18
2011 Josh Cassidy (CAN) 43:57
2010 David Weir 44:49
2009 David Weir 41:34
2008 Josh Cassidy (CAN) 44:10
2007 Ernst Van Dyk (SA) 42:36
2006 Kurt Fearley (AUS) 42:38
2005 David Weir 42:35
2004 Kenny Herriot 45:37
2003 David Weir 45:41
2002 Tushar Patel 48:46
2001 Tushar Patel 48:10
2000 Kevin Papworth 49:18
1999 Hadj Lahmar 49:57
1998 Hadj Lahmar 53:47
1997 David Holding 44:22
1996 David Holding 49:17
1995 Jack McKenna 52:16
1994 David Holding 50:33
1993 Ivan Newman 54:11
1992 David Holding 50:21
1991 David Holding 47:24
1990 Chris Hallam 56:32
1989 Chris Hallam 1:01:40
1988 David Holding 57:57
1987 Chris Hallam 56:37
1986 Chris Hallam 1:01:15
1985 Mark Tong 1:17:18
1984 Terry Clark 1:10:28
1983 John Grant 1:17:16
1982 Alan Robinson 1:32:00
1981 Alan Robinson 1:28:54
2012 Jane Egan 1:15:00
2011 Shelley Woods 50:14
2010 Shelley Woods 52:59
2009 Amanda McGrory (USA) 49:47
2008 Diana Roy (CAN) 51:10
2007 Shelley Woods 50:36
2006 Diana Roy (CAN) 50:33
2005 Shelly Woods 50:07
2004 Gunilla Wallengren (SWE) 52:14
2003 Gunilla Wallengren 53:04
2002 Gunilla Wallengren 57:47
2001 Gunilla Wallengren 52:59
2000 Sarah Piercey 1:13:32
1999 Tanni Grey Thompson 1:02:32
1998 Tanni Grey Thompson 1:10:58
1997 Tanni Grey 52:17
1996 Tanni Grey 57:17
1995 Tanni Grey 58:44
1994 Rose Hill 1:00:41
1993 Rose Hill 58:00
1992 Tanni Grey 59:21
1991 Tanni Grey 1:00:22
1990 Tanni Grey 1:05:08
1989 Eileen Dixon 2:06:54
1988 Josie Cichockyj 1:37:38
1987 Karen Davidson 1:19:55
1986 Karen Davidson 1:13:04
1985 Anne Graham 2:26:53
1984 Ellen Hodgson 2:50:42
1983 Maria Dodsworth 2:27:29