Great North East runners doing themselves proud

Steven Hepples and Louise Noble led the region's charge in yesterday's 26th BUPA Great North Run.

Steven Hepples and Louise Noble led the region's charge in yesterday's 26th BUPA Great North Run.

Hepples, the North Eastern half-marathon and 10km champion, finished in 21st position in his debut in the event, while Sunderland's Noble improved on last year's time by over four minutes to finish in 25th place among the women.

Despite being leading North East finisher, Hepples said he was disappointed with his run, especially running a time of 66min 23sec, which is nearly two minutes down on his best for the distance.

"I didn't have a good run, in fact I struggled for much of the race," said the Teessider who was having his final outing before getting married next weekend.

"It's the first time I've run the GNR and, I have to say, it's not an easy course.

"I've got no excuses but if I run next year I'll definitely prepare differently. I felt part of the reason I didn't run well was because I lacked endurance which is easily put right." Meanwhile, 26-year-old Noble was pleased to knock around 30 seconds off her previous best time even though she finished one place further back than last year in a time of 80:37.

The Wearsider said: "At first I thought I'd gone off too fast but I reached 10km in around 35 minutes which was bang on target.

"I passed 10 miles in just over the hour and I went on to run a pb which I have to be happy with."

Former Jarrow and Hebburn and Chester-le-Street athlete David Wardle, now based in London where he runs in the London Irish colours, finished one place and three seconds behind Hepples.

Next home for the region were Morpeth duo Mark Hudspith and GNR debutant Chris Sampson.

Hudspith, who finished in 30th place in 68:36, said he was unhappy with his run as he was looking for something around the 67-minute mark.

"I'm slightly disappointed," said the former Commonwealth marathon bronze medallist.

"It was a bit warm at the start after being held back for about 10 minutes but while my time is down on what I was hoping for, looking at the results so are many others."

Meanwhile, Sampson, who went into the race on the back of some good results, said he thought he had had a solid run, though, like Mark, was looking for something a bit quicker.

"When I saw the clock as I crossed the line I was slightly disappointed but on reflection I think I had a solid run," said Sampson.

"I'd like to give it another go and see how well I can really do."

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