This year’s Great North Run will be started by one World Cup winner and two semi-finalists.
Durham’s Mark Wood, of the World Cup-winning England Cricket team, will be joined by lionesses Jill Scott and Steph Houghton on the starters’ podium for the famous race next week.
They’ll be waving 57,000 runners across the starting line at the UK’s biggest running event on Sunday. They’ll join an illustrious list of former run starters, including Sir Bobby Robson, Alan Shearer, Dame Kelly Holmes, Sting and Mark Knopfler.
Fast Bowler Mark Wood, from Ashington, Northumberland , took 18 wickets during England’s successful World Cup campaign, and says it’s an “honour” to start the region’s most iconic sporting event.
Mark said, ”Coming from the North East it is a fantastic honour to be one of the starters for the 2019 Simplyhealth Great North Run.
“I am very passionate about the region and healthy living so it will be brilliant to see so many runners taking part, some of whom are raising money for very worthwhile causes”
Midfielder Jill Scott, who played a pivotal role in the England’s inspirational performance at the Women’s World Cup is no stranger to a Great North Run start line, having taken part in the Junior event as a youngster. Jill, originally from Sunderland, will be travelling back to the North East especially for the race, after the opening day of the 2019 season with her team, Manchester City.
Jill said, ”I loved running as a kid, and ran for Sunderland Harriers before I decided to concentrate on football. I can’t wait to see everyone setting off and I’m getting ready for a few high fives and selfies.
“We had such tremendous support from the fans when we were in France, I’m looking forward to supporting all these amazing people as they take on their own personal challenge.”
Jill will be joined by her Manchester City team mate and England Captain Steph Houghton. Steph, from County Durham, will also be supporting friends and family running for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation
Steph said, “I am delighted to be back home in the North East and it is an honour to be helping start this iconic event.
“The Simplyhealth Great North Run really shows the power of sport and what it can achieve. There will be so many people running for causes close to their hearts and raising an incredible amount of money for various charities.
“I’m looking forward to being able to wish them all the best of luck in person on the day”.
The starters this year say they’re celebrating the campaign Made by Sport , championing the power of grassroots sport across the country.
Jill, an ambassador for the campaign said, “All three of us here today are a testament to the grass roots sports clubs that supported us throughout our lives.
“Giving young people access to sport gives them so many opportunities and life skills that will enrich their lives and benefit us all as a nation. I hope people get on board with the campaign and think about fundraising for Made by Sport at the 2020 Great North Run”.