Red Arrow Widow Finishes Great North Run
The widow of a Red Arrows pilot killed following an air display paid tribute to the crowds who supported her through The Great North Run.
The widow of a Red Arrows pilot killed after putting on a display at the Bournemouth Air Festival, paid tribute to the crowds who supported her through The Great North Run on Sunday 18th September 2011.
Dr Emma Egging ran in memory of her late husband Flt Lt Jon Egging, who died when his jet came down not far from Bournemouth Airport last month.
The 33-year-old was killed after making a dramatic attempt to steer his stricken Hawk away from nearby houses.
He was the first Red Arrows pilot killed in a crash for 33 years.
Dr Egging, of Rutland, watched silently as the Red Arrows flew over the race's start line in the ''missing man'' formation in honour of her husband.
She then joined more than 54,000 entrants to the famous half-marathon between Newcastle and South Shields, running with the number 4 on her back in a tribute to her husband who flew as ''Red 4''.
Race organiser Nova International communications director David Hart said it had been the most moving moment in the race's 31 year history.
He said: ''It was an incredible day.
''There was upwards of 54,000 entrants, all of whom were running for their own particular reasons but the tribute by the Red Arrows to their fallen comrade and the part Emma played in that was probably the most emotional and moving moment in the race's history.
''She said she was absolutely bowled over by the support she received during the race and by what happened at the start.
''It undoubtedly helped to keep her going.''
Her husband's friend Squadron Leader Graeme Bagnall, who flies as Red 10, ran by her side during the race.
Sdn Ldr Bagnall is the Red Arrows safety officer and pilot of the flying team's ''spare jet''.
Mr Hart said:
''The Red Arrows have become synonymous with the run over the last decade or so.
''There is no sight so iconic in any run in the world as the Red Arrows flying over the Tyne Bridge.
''It was fantastic to be able to welcome them back after such a traumatic time.''
Dr Egging, an academic at the British Museum, used the run to launch The Jon Egging Trust young people's charity.
She and Flt Lt Egging used to run together.
She stood on the starters' podium with world 5,000m champion Mo Farah who was acting as honorary starter.
Just before he fired the starting pistol, the formation of Hawk jets flew overhead, trailing coloured smoke.
She told reporters yesterday:
''It's going to be tough but I am up for the challenge and Jon would have wanted me to be here...it's been tough, you know.
''But running was something we did together and enjoyed doing.
''It's something that's going to help me in the next few months time to come to go on and get the strength to work in Jon's name and to do everything he would have wanted us to do.''
Professional athletes including British light heavyweight boxer Tony Jeffries, and celebrities including newsreader Sophie Raworth, EastEnders favourites Charlie Brooks and Neil McDermott, and models Nell McAndrew and Sophie Gradon, as well as amateurs, were taking part.