‘I never thought I would be doing this’– Hartlepool runners share Great North Run joy

Back row (l-r) Dan Willis, Fiona McGregor, Ruth Ewing and Andrew Murphy.
Front row (l-r) Kay Blackman, Sam Stewart, Adam Palmer, Dan Tucker, Lee Garrett and Lucy Bravey.

Back row (l-r) Dan Willis, Fiona McGregor, Ruth Ewing and Andrew Murphy. Front row (l-r) Kay Blackman, Sam Stewart, Adam Palmer, Dan Tucker, Lee Garrett and Lucy Bravey.

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It was a day of achievement for all who took part in this year’s Great North Run - but for some Hartlepool runners it was a day where they triumphed against the odds to cross the finish line.

Russell Welsh was one such runner, who put himself to the test by taking on the famous half marathon, despite losing his sight through a rare genetic condition.

Emma Cox from Hutton Henry is taking part in the Great North Run to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Emma Cox from Hutton Henry is taking part in the Great North Run to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity.

The dad-of-three, from Seaton Carew, was diagnosed with choroideremia in 1994, and has been slowly losing his sight ever since. But he finished the run in just two hours 30 minutes along with running guide and life-long pal Andrew Lee for charity Children with Cancer UK.

He said: “I really enjoyed it and have managed to raise £1,600 for the charity.

“The last half mile was a highlight, as the cheer of the crowds spurred me on and I hope to do it again next year.”

Another inspirational runner was Hartlepool mum Emma Cox, who underwent life-saving brain surgery to remove a tumour two years ago soon after giving birth to her second child. The 32-year-old was delighted to have raised £570 for the Brain Tumour charity.

Russell Welsh took part in the Great North Run after losing his sight with running guide Andrew Lee.

Russell Welsh took part in the Great North Run after losing his sight with running guide Andrew Lee.

She said: “It was a really good day and I managed to finish in two hours 53 minutes.

“I ran and walked the last couple of miles and am bit sore today, but I feel alright!

“It was a great day. I was a bit emotional at the start when crossing the bridge and when I reached the end, as two years ago I never though I would be doing this.

“It is a big achievement.”

Members of Team Sally Holbrook after the Great North Run 2016

Members of Team Sally Holbrook after the Great North Run 2016

Meanwhile, a team of staff from Dyke House Sports and Technology College took part in the event to raise funds for Coping With Cancer North East after vice-principal Adam Palmer won his own battle with the illness. Mr Palmer was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2010, and underwent surgery. He joined his colleagues in the event, finishing in one hour 37 minutes.

He said: “I wasn’t happy with my time, as I have been faster in my training, but it was a really hot day and the main thing is everyone made it across the finish line. We have managed to raise quite a bit of money for a good cause – collaboratively I think we will have raised £3,000.

“I don’t think of myself as a cancer survivor, but I massively appreciate those who are going through their own battle.”

Congratulations to members of Team Sally Holbrook who ran in memory of Sally who died in a tragic car crash in 2012.

Sally’s husband Phil ran his 26th Great North Run finishing in two hours 36 minutes. The team hope to raise £5,000 for Hartlepool & District hospice.