ELVIS impersonators, daredevil aerobatics and thousands of ordinary people helped make yesterday's Great North Run as colourful as ever.

Nearly 37,000 people took part in the world-famous run, and more than 40,000 in the full range of events - and they were cheered on by hundreds of thousands of people who lined the route between Newcastle and South Shields, in South Tyneside.

The Red Arrows brought a splash of colour to Tyneside, painting the sky over the Tyne Bridge red, white and blue.

England manager and former Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren fired the starter's pistol.

Serious runners, as well as people in fancy dress, took up the challenge of running the 26th annual 13.1-mile half-marathon.

Some were dressed as nurses, pantomime animals and there were even a few superheroes.

There were also shuttle buses to help people who could not carry on to the end.

The main race - won by Henrick Ramaala, from South Africa - was preceded by the National Wheelchair Championships and the Women's British Half-Marathon Championships.

Ethiopia's Berhane Adere won the women's event, with Britain's Jo Pavey fourth.

The wheelchair race was won by Canada's Diane Roy, with Shelly Woods, from Blackpool, second.

Redcar's Paralympic gold medallist Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson finished 5th.

Celebrities who ran in the main event included Carol Vorderman, who was Walking for Whiteley in memory of Richard Whiteley, actor Jimmy Nail and actress Amanda Burton, as well as Chris Tarrant's estranged wife, Ingrid.

Friends and family of Leeds company director Reuben Wilson, who collapsed and died during last year's race, also took part.

His brother, Judah, led a team of more than 20 people, who stopped at the 11-mile mark where Mr Wilson died last September.

"It was quite emotional at that point. I stopped for two to three minutes," said Judah.

"All in all, the atmosphere was brilliant. People were patting us on the back saying 'well done'."

Staff from The Northern Echo took part in the Great North Run to raise money for charity.

Photographer Chris Booth completed his fourth Great North Run in 1hr 45min - the same as last year - and raised more than £300 for the British Lung Foundation.

Mr Booth, 30, originally from Bradford but now living in Darlington, said: "I have done it for the last four years and I think I will do it until my legs give up."

Reporters David and Will Roberts, who are brothers, took part with their sister Mary, an actress who now lives in London.

They raised money for Breast Cancer Care after their mother, Kate, from West Auckland, underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy after being diagnosed with the disease in July last year.

They completed the half marathon in 2hr 17min.

David, 28, said: "The last three miles is the hardest, but other people help you along and the crowd does half of the work for you.

"It is the second time I have done the run and I improved by about a minute, but the time is not the most important thing. I was aiming to do under two hours but I realised it was not going to happen."