A STRONG Cumbrian contingent was among the thousands of runners who took to the streets in the world’s biggest half marathon.

More than 57,000 people set off in the Great North Run, venturing over the iconic Tyne Bridge, through Gateshead and South Tyneside, before ending on the sea front at South Shields yesterday.

After months of training, scores of people from Cumbria were among the crowds who got involved.

Maryport’s own Simon Lawson emerged victorious, after bagging third place in the Men’s Elite Wheelchair race with a time of 45 minutes and 56 seconds.

The Carlisle shop boss was just seconds behind David Weir, who took home first place in 43 minutes and 29 seconds.

Behind him was Canadian wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos who finished in 43 minutes and 34 seconds.

The county’s own musical star, Matt Pagan, who won primetime ITV show Britain’s Got Talent with his quartet Collabro, finished the run in two hours and 25 minutes.

Despite not completing the run within his target of under two hours, the 25-year-old, from Carlisle, has raised thousands of pounds.

Money collected will be sent to the Graham Wylie Foundation, a charity which supports a number of projects to educate children across the north east.

Speaking after finishing the run, Matt said: “It was all going well until the eighth mile when I tore a ligament in my knee.

“But despite that, I’m really pleased to have finished in the time that I have.

“Last year was the first time I did the Great North Run, and I did it in three hours and nine minutes, so this is a still a huge improvement.

“It’s the crowds that keep you going, the atmosphere was amazing.”

Matt has already signed up to do the run next year.

Among the runners were Lynsey Buckle and her team from Carlisle Youth Zone, Michelle Moffat, Martha Winn and Emily Robson - all of whom crossed the finish line in South Shields in three hours and 11 minutes.

n To check the finish times for each runner, visit: www.greatrun.org/myresults/name-search