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Fridges and pink dresses: Cancelled Great North Run lives on virtually

Runners completed the 13.1 mile distance locally and joined in using the hashtag #GNRVirtual.

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Dave Taylor (left) runs with a fridge on his back, and Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (St Oswald’s Hospice/Colin Burgin-Plews)

Dave Taylor (left) runs with a fridge on his back, and Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (St Oswald’s Hospice/Colin Burgin-Plews)

Dave Taylor (left) runs with a fridge on his back, and Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (St Oswald’s Hospice/Colin Burgin-Plews)

Runners competed in a virtual edition of the Great North Run after the coronavirus pandemic saw the original event cancelled.

Unable to gather in the North East for the famous half marathon, instead people clocked in via a race app to register their times.

And the lack of a centralised race did not deter the competitors from the usual variety of novelty efforts.

Dave Taylor, from Ponteland, Northumberland, is a chef at St Oswald’s Hospice, which provides care to people with life-limiting conditions.

In 2011, Mr Taylor ran the Great North Run with a fridge on his back, and decided to do so again this time around for charity with a team of seven friends and family in his home town.

Colin Burgin-Plews, 52, from South Shields – also known as Big Pink Dress – meanwhile took on the run in a different way.

Mr Burgin-Plews is known for running various races in a pink dress while raising money for charity.

“Today was not in any way as electric as normal,” he told the PA news agency. “But there (were) still a few bands on Coast Road in South Shields where the finish normally is.

“It was a nice run out and Great Run did an amazing job.”

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Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (Colin Burgin-Plews)

Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (Colin Burgin-Plews)

Colin Burgin-Plews, from South Shields, who is known for running various races in a pink dress (Colin Burgin-Plews)

“We know it’s no match for the real thing, but it’s still a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate all that is great about the event and the people who make it even greater,” the Great Run Twitter account posted.

They also confirmed: “We are planning to be back and better in 2021 for the 40th Great North Run.”

PA