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Aly Dixon and Big Pink Dress join runners to launch 10th anniversary of Great North 10k

Sherril Lamb from Gateshead, Claire Woodhead from Richmond, Gurkha soldiers, Big Pink Dress from South Shields, Aly Dixon, Rachael White from Westerhope, Carole Hepple and Gill Forth from Cleadon.
Sherril Lamb from Gateshead, Claire Woodhead from Richmond, Gurkha soldiers, Big Pink Dress from South Shields, Aly Dixon, Rachael White from Westerhope, Carole Hepple and Gill Forth from Cleadon.

This summer marks a major milestone for the North East's biggest 10k running event.

And Sunderland's own Aly Dixon joined runners in Gateshead today to launch 2018's Great North 10k, which takes place on Sunday, July 8.

The race will celebrate its 10th year this summer - and takes place two months before the iconic Great North Run.

Aly, who recently finished sixth in the Commonwealth Games marathon, was among those sharing her memories of the race at its launch today.

She came second in the Great North 10k in 2014.

The Sunderland Stroller said: "I’ve taken part in the Simplyhealth Great North 10k before when it’s fit in with my training, it’s pretty close to home and is a good fast run.

This year's event will take place on Sunday, July 8.

This year's event will take place on Sunday, July 8.

“I have always enjoyed the course when I have taken part. It’s also a tough one because you have two little hills on the course.

“It’s amazing to have another big run on our doorstep and it keeps the North East on the map, which is fantastic.”

Read more: Eight Great North East half marathons to enter this year

Colin Plews from South Shields, also known as Big Pink Dress, also attended the launch event at Gateshead International Stadium today.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Great North 10k.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Great North 10k.

Colin started fundraising in 2014 for Breast Cancer Now while wearing a handmade pink dress. Four years on and thousands of pounds later, the Great North 10k is part of his annual running repertoire.

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary, the runner is creating a special dress that will be designed by schoolchildren from Shields.

He said: “The Simplyhealth Great North 10k is very special to me as it’s an event I took part in during my very first year of fundraising.

“It’s one of my home events and the atmosphere is always incredible. I always high five the runners and spectators on the out and back section along the Quayside and everyone is so supportive, from crossing the start line to finishing in the stadium.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere and a great day out for the family that I look forward to every year.

“Four years later, the Big Pink Dress is still going strong and I thought it would be a nice way to mark 10 years of the event by asking school children to enter a competition to design a commemorative dress.

“Myself and three other judges will pick the winning design and I’ll be wearing it in style at the event this year.”

Read more: Flick through these great pictures from Sunderland 10ks and half marathons

Around 5,000 people take part in the 10k each year. The event will also include the Great North Family Run, a shorter mile-long route for children and their families.

It starts and finishes on the Stadium track.

Kerry Simpson, Communications Manager at the Great Run Company, said: “Since its first staging in 2009, the Simplyhealth Great North 10k has grown into one of the most popular events for runners of all abilities in the North East.

“Every year, 5,000 people make it a must-do event in their running calendar. It’s also the sister event to the Simplyhealth Great North Run and is the perfect training run for the big one in September.

“We can’t wait to welcome everyone to Gateshead International Stadium who are all taking part for a variety of different reasons.”