Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Special 'First' for Tanni

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Special 'First' for Tanni

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul James

A star-studded gala evening tomorrow night will celebrate the new Great North Run Hall of Fame. On the eve of the landmark event, Chief Reporter Paul James talks to Britain's most successful Paralympian ( among the first athletes to be named as one of the race's all-time greats.

Olympic champion Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson last night spoke of her pride after being named one of the first members of the Great North Run Hall of Fame.

Dame Tanni gained worldwide fame from her triumphs at the five Paralympic Games in which she has competed, winning 11 gold medals, four silver and one bronze.

But she has also been one of the most popular figures in the 13-mile race on Tyneside, missing just one from 1989, when she was pregnant with daughter Carys in 2001 and helped start the race instead.

The Redcar-based athlete has won the race eight times, cheered on by her home crowd every time she has taken part. Tomorrow night she will be one of six people to be inducted into the first ever Great North Run Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at the Gateshead Hilton hosted by run organisers Nova International.

It will be presented by Sue Barker, with music from Alan Clark, of Dire Straits, and a speech by Alastair Campbell, and all profits will go to charity, including pounds 1,000 that will go to The Journal's Josie Grove Appeal. And yesterday Dame Tanni said it was an honour to be one of the first six hall of famers. She said: "It's really lovely. I've had great times doing the Great North, the course suits me and the atmosphere really makes it. I remember watching it as a junior and thinking 'That's what I want to do' and it's become one of my favourite races, for lots of different reasons.

"The guys at Nova who are behind it are passionate about what they do and passionate about making it a great race for whoever is in the field, whether they're first or last. …

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