THE north east’s biggest fundraising event of the year takes place this weekend as thousands of people hit the road for the Bupa Great North Run.
The 13-mile run from Newcastle to South Shields captures the hearts of the nation as athletes and fun-runners from all over the world head for Tyneside.
Hundreds of charities will benefit from the half-marathon, including several being supported by runners from south east Northumberland.
Trevor Robson, of Cramlington, is running to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust after his daughter Jess was diagnosed with the disease.
It was just before the family were due to emigrate to Australia in November 2010 that Jess was diagnosed.
The teenager, now 16, had a tumour in her leg, and the cancer spread.
She has had that tumour removed but is now receiving treatment for cancer that spread to her chest.
Trevor said: “It’s hard for the kids, but they do just get on with it and always have a smile on their faces. I think sometimes it’s the parents who struggle the most.
“The Teenage Cancer Trust have been great, and we want to do something for them.”
This year’s Great North Run is one of many events family and friends of Jess have taken part in to raise money for the charity, and between them, they have raised £12,000 so far.
Trevor added: “I have done the Great North Run before and just loved the experience and taking it all in and reading why everyone was doing it for the various charities. I knew last time I wanted to do it again.”
Also running for charity is Michael Boyle, of Bedlington.
He took part last year too, raising money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, and is doing the same this year.
His friend Neil Douglass was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010 and he is raising money for the charity because it has helped his pal, as well as hoping to beat his time of 2hrs 17mins from last time round.
Carley Giles, of Cramlington, is going the distance in memory of her best friend, Samantha Liston, who died at St Oswald’s Hospice in Gosforth in 2006.
Carley said: “After achieving some important milestones over the last few years, such as getting married and starting a family, I decided it was time to take on the challenge of the Great North Run.
“I wanted to run it for myself – to lose weight and get fit – but I also wanted to raise money for a deserving charity.
“St Oswald’s was an easy choice for me as they cared for my best friend in her final hours, and I just thought they were fantastic.
“Samantha would think it was hilarious that I was so into running now, but I really think I’ve caught the running bug.
“I’ve lost weight and I’m starting to really enjoy some me-time on my runs.”
At the age of just six, Daniel Woods, of Cramlington, had a stroke and suffered tunnel vision as a result. Four days later, Daniel, now 23, had another stroke which affected his right side.
He is taking part in this year’s Great North Run to raise money for the Stroke Association.
He said: “I did get picked on when I was at school, but I rise above it and just laugh at them when I see them now.
“I got into running and decided to take part in the great North Run two years ago, and it was my mam who suggested running for the Stroke Association, and that’s who we are hoping to raise money for.”
n Golden girl Kat will get event up and running – Page 24