Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 19:53 UK

Runners sign up for DNA research

Runners cross Tyne Bridge
The research could be used to help elite training

About 1,000 Great North runners have signed up for a groundbreaking study into the impact DNA has on race performance.

Newcastle University has sent emails to each of the 54,000 people who have registered for Sunday's event.

Those who wish to take part in the research have been sent a "spit kit".

It is hoped that the findings will help scientists understand why some of us can run faster than others - despite doing the same amount of training.

The university's Professor Patrick Chinnery said: "A thousand runners have so far signed up to our study in advance of Sunday's Great North Run - but there's still time for others to join in."

He added: "What's really exciting is that the information we will get from these samples could help shape the training programme for our future world-class athletes - maybe our next Olympians."

Along with the saliva sample, participants will be asked for their race number, which will allow researchers to check their finish time - without access to their identity.

Runners will also be asked how many hours of training they have undertaken.

Anyone wishing to participate in the research should visit the Great North Run website.

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