Ryan McLeod, the son of Mike McLeod – the first winner of the Great North Run – is due to set the pace at the North of England’s iconic Half Marathon


Duracell and the Great Run Series have today announced that the Great North Run will feature pacemakers for the first time ever when the runners take to the streets of Tyneside on Sunday 11 September.

Duracell has worked with the Great Run Series to recruit 50 experienced runners who will serve as pacemakers for the huge numbers of runners taking part. They’ll each be wearing the colours of the famous pink bunny, used in many an ad campaign by Duracell over the years.

To mark this historic moment, the first pacer to cross the line will be Ryan McLeod (pictured), the son of Mike McLeod who was the first ever winner of the Great North Run. Ryan McLeod, who has competed for Team GB at the European and World Cross Country Championships and is the 2015 British Half Marathon Champion, will lead the pacers over the line 35 years after his father won the first two races in 1981 and 82 respectively.

Ryan McLeod said of being the first ever pacemaker at the race: “It’s a great honour. This race has a special place for my family.”

His father added: “35 years ago the first Great North Run was a very different prospect to the huge event it is today. Every year the race gets better and better for runners and it is great to see that pacemakers will be a part of the race in 2016 – I’m extremely proud that my son will be the first pacer to cross the line.”