Eddie Howe has today been announced as the starter of the 2023 Great North Run, which will take place on Sunday the 10th of September in the city centre.
The Newcastle United head coach will follow in the footsteps of the late, great Sir Bobby Robson by wielding the starter's pistol, though Wor Bobby had the honour twice.
The announcement was made on the Great Run's official X account:
And founder of the largest half-marathon in the world, Sir Brendan Foster, also spoke to the Great Run's official website about the decision to put Howe on the starter's platform:
“We’re delighted Eddie will be joining us on the iconic starter’s platform on Sunday, to set 60,000 runners on their way at the 42nd AJ Bell Great North Run.
“He joins a long list of North East heroes who have performed official starting duties including; Sting, Ant and Dec and Jill Scott
“Eddie will also be the first Newcastle Manager to start the Great North Run since Sir Bobby Robson, who was also the last manager to take the team to the Champions League!
“Newcastle has always been a proud sporting city and it’s great to see Newcastle United thrive on a national and international stage.
“We’re sure there will be a huge number of Newcastle fans who will be delighted to get the opportunity to say thank you to Eddie in person.
A massive 60,000 people are set to participate in the run this weekend, which began in 1981 and is celebrating its 42nd year.
That inaugural event also had a Newcastle United theme, albeit before his time at the club, with then-England captain Kevin Keegan participating in a rather unique shirt:
You're seeing that right. Super Kev is sporting a half-Newcastle, half-Sunderland top, and had to swap out his Patrick football boots at the 10-mile mark due to the blisters he was developing. Luckily, there was a young lad roadside who wore the same size as KK and was very happy to oblige.
Keegan finished the race in borrowed footwear in 490th place. And, in typical style, honoured a wager to donate 50p for every runner who crossed the finish line before him. That cost him £244.50 back then, which is the equivalent of around £1,200 today. What a bloke.
All the best to everyone participating this weekend, we hope it's a cracking day!
(We'll be sat on our backsides watching on BBC One, which is broadcasting the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.)
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