For some it was the culmination of months spent in training, while others were happy just to have crossed the finishing line.

But there were triumphant smiles all round yesterday as nearly 20,000 runners took to the streets of Glasgow for the Great Scottish Run 2008.

Click here to see our slideshow of pictures from the Great Scottish Run

One man with particular reason to celebrate was Emmanuel Mutai, who achieved a new course record of 61 minutes and 10 seconds for the half-marathon. The 23-year-old Kenyan said that his success in Glasgow raised his hopes for a return trip to Britain to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London.

He said: "I'm feeling pretty good. This is my first time on this course, and it's very different to Kenya. There we train in high altitude, but here it's lower, so it's a bit easier.

"I'm concentrating on running in Chicago next, but after that I'd like to be back for London in 2012. It's four years away, but we'll see."

Also in high spirits was 29-year-old Mark Telford, from Perth, who was first across the finish line after powering his wheelchair round the course in just 58:15. Mr Telford, completing his fifth Glasgow half-marathon, described how he had bounced back after his cycling career was cut short by a tragic crash in his early 20s.

He said: "I was in an accident during a time trial event back when I was a pro cyclist. One minute I was going at 40mph, then the next I was looking at a hospital ceiling, having broken my back.

"My time today was slower than my personal best, which is about 52 minutes, but the Glasgow course is quite difficult, with a lot of hilly parks."

In an event that drew competitors from as far afield as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Japan and Austria, the first Scottish runner to finish was Robert Russell, who recorded a time of 1:05:22.

The first female finisher was Wokknesh Tula, from Ethiopia, with a time of 1:11:00, and the first Scottish woman over the line was Hayley Haining, who finished in 1:11:28.

Competing in the earlier 10K race was Fauja Singh, the 97-year-old holder of the world marathon record for the over-90 age bracket.

Running under the banner of the Sikh Sports Association, and raising money for charities in the local area, Mr Singh finished ahead of many much younger runners with a time of just 76 minutes.

Among the more unusual competitors were two music teachers from Glasgow, running under the names Matthew Duke-Chinn and John-Paul O'Spartan.

Finishing the 10K in lipstick, wigs and revealing pink dresses, they managed to raise £1200 for the St Andrew's Hospice, but afterwards complained that they were struggling to find a city centre pub that would serve them at 11am.

Also present at the start line, with a tartan tracksuit and his trademark cigar, was TV star and former marathon runner Jimmy Savile, who said he had earned a day off after running 216 marathons in his life. Instead, he cheered on the runners as they embarked on the race.

A spokesman for Robert Wiseman Dairies, the event's main sponsor, hailed the day as a success.

He said: "This year's Fresh'n'lo Great Scottish Run has been a fantastic experience for the runners, their families and for businesses who took up the corporate challenge.

"We congratulate everyone who took part."