A record 9 members of ABC participated in this year’s Great North Run, raising a phenomenal amount of money for various charities.   I asked each participant to say a little about why they took part in the GNR and any over-riding memories from the day.

Emma Hewling

My GNR story started following the death of a best friend’s Dad. Alzheimers was my first charity. I’ve ran 9 GNRs including the 40th during COVID.  Other than Alzheimers I have also run for Parkinsons, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research several times raising thousands of pounds. Unfortunately, every year I’ve had a person to run for, but it’s my way of marking and remembering them. 2022 was the run for the Queen.  I carried this as a mark of respect on my back, well received by fellow runners…Next year 2023 will be my 10th and last – don’t quote me! Fantastic day, amazing people.  Everyone should run the GNR once in their lifetime!

Sarah Nichols

This year was the second time doing the GNR. Both times for charity. This year it was in memory of my Auntie who we lost two year ago through cancer. Me, and two of my siblings, ran to raise money for St.Benedict’s Hospice as they provided the care my aunty needed when she was staying there. We managed to raise around £1,200. A great day had by all!

Hannah Race

The most mentally and physically challenging experience I’ve ever faced! Working in an SEN school, seeing the fabulous work Daisy Chain does and providing a safe haven for our students and their families was my biggest motivation .  I was also motivated to run the Great North Run after my sister, Becca, ran it the previous year.

Stu Race

This year, I ran the GNR for the first time after being inspired by watching my daughter Becca doing last year’s run and the amazing atmosphere, I just wanted a piece of the action on the other side of the barriers. I signed up and started training last October at the age of 52 and not having done any running since leaving school, my usual sport being road cycling. I gradually increased the distance and pace of my runs and got involved in a few things with the ABC Arrows, alongside training in the gym twice a week. A big part of me deciding to do the GNR was choosing a charity that had a personal connection, so I ran for Parkinson’s UK as my Mum has suffered with this for about 3 years now and it has really changed her and my Dad’s lives, unfortunately. With unbelievable support from family, friends, work colleagues and customers I managed to raise over £1000, which,, in all honesty has blown me away and was a massive part in getting me through those 13.1 miles and across that line in South Shields. A physical, mental and at times an emotional challenge.  Would I do it again?, HELL YEAH! Totally recommend giving it a go.  If I can do it, anyone can! To sum up the Great North Run in just one word?, it’s just gotta be ‘WOW!’.

Dan Steer

I ran the GNR for the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of my grandad, Ernie Wilson. He lost his battle against this terrible disease 6 years ago. Having battled cancer successfully, he was struck down by alzheimers. This was my first GNR but will not be my last as I loved it, apart from getting a little choked up at the end when I went into the Alzheimers Tent.

Michelle Wild

I started running at aged 40.  Never ever would my 30 year old self believe I could being 21 stones.  I built up my distances gradually, going lamppost to lamppost on bike tracks where I couldn’t be seen. Gradually, entering a 5k…10k…and only dreaming of the GNR.  Well, I did it!  Ten years years ago in 2 hours 15 minutes.  Since then I have done it 4 more times.  I always train hard…not a natural runner or a distance runner but this proves that if you believe, you can, you really CAN!  The atmosphere, camaraderie  and support crossing that finish line is a memory I will cherish forever.  I have raised about £2500 through my runs for charities that mean so much: British Heart Foundation, GNAR, Heel and Toe and three times for North Tees Hospital.   I said this year was my last but, who knows!  My body is not always what I would like it to look like…a work in progress…but I am so very proud of it!  I am also thankful to ABC for continuing to inspire me to be the best version of me I can be.

Also congratulations to Nicola Smart and Jo Philips for also successfully completing the GNR for their charities.

And finally…unfortunately, due to injury, one of our members was unable to take part in the GNR as planned.  Despite this, showing true ABC spirit and determination, she completed her own version of the GNR.  It was fantastic to see the support she was given by ABC members who had turned up on Sunday morning for the class.

Kelly Brown

This year, I was set to run the GNR for the British heart foundation in memory of my dad who suddenly passed away at age 49 from a massive heart attack. However due to injury I couldn’t take place in the run and was devastated.  I felt like I was letting the memory of my dad down so I made my own version of the Great North Run – 13.1 miles on the assault bike in ABC gym at the same time the GNR was taking place, just so I felt a little part of it. I hadn’t trained on the bike so it was a tough ride but amazing coach, Jordan Jacques and members of ABC supported me through it, something I don’t think I could have done without them.

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