Great North Run: Hartlepool man inspired stroke survivor brother by wearing Pools shirt on run

Colin Watts.
Colin Watts.

A Hartlepool man who is recovering from a serious stroke was given a source of inspiration on Sunday as his brother ran the Great North Run in his honour.

Richard Watts was left paralysed by a stroke in 2013 when aged 46, but has made fine progress at Yohden Hall care complex, in Blackhall.

Richard Watts.

Richard Watts.

The former Mail journalist is visited every day by his brother Colin, 46, from West Park, Hartlepool.

The engineer wanted Richard to be involved in Sunday’s half-marathon in some way, so he ran the race in his brother’s Pools shirt, and wore a band which said ‘Thinking of Richard’ throughout the 13.1 miles.

Colin, who completed the race in 1:41.10, said: “I was wearing Richard’s Hartlepool shirt, and with his situation, it was nice for him that he could be involved in some way.

“I wanted to show that I was still thinking of him, even though I wasn’t with him. I know he would have loved to have done it.

I was wearing Richard’s Hartlepool shirt, and with his situation, it was nice for him that he could be involved in some way

Colin Watts

“The band is something I got made a couple of years ago when Richard first became ill.

“Me and Richard’s younger brother Gavin decided to do the Great North Run two years ago to get fit again after what had happened to Richard, and wore the bands.

“It sometimes feels like you’re missing him out, so this gives us a chance to involve him in some way.

“It also gave him something to look out for on the TV.”

Richard ran the race twice in the 1980s, and after his stroke, his brothers decided to take up the challenge.

Colin’s final time on Sunday was three minutes slower than his effort last year for the course, which goes from Newcastle to South Shields.

He added: “It was very hot, and I was hoping to do it a bit quicker.

“I did it in 1:35 two years ago, and 1:38 last year, so I’m getting three minutes slower each year.

“As Richard said to me, maybe age is catching up with me! As for Richard, he is very hit and miss, and still has a long way to go, but we’re hoping he will keep improving.”