MIRACLE runner Richard Griffiths fought back the tears as he got ready to tackle the Miles for Men run.
Less than three years ago, the 33-year-old was at death’s door.
Richard was first diagnosed with a lymphoma and in the months that followed, battled cancer and a string of other complications.
Yet in a remarkable turnaround, the dad-of-two overcame every illness. Now, he is so healthy, he planned to complete the five kilometre run in around 30 minutes.
His story was so inspirational, he was asked to give a speech to the hundreds of runners who were raising money for the fight against cancer.
He told them: “Winning the Champions League is amazing. Beating cancer is incredible. What you are doing is priceless.”
He told the Mail that runners had been arriving for the big day up to three hours before the starting gun. He added: “It is a really good turnout and it gets a bit emotional when you speak to the families of people who have been lost.”
Richard was so ill, his weight dropped from 10st to 6st. His legs became so weak, they couldn’t support his ever-weakening body.
In the last year of his illness, he spent nine weeks at home compared to 43 in hospital.
Richard’s battle started when a biopsy in August 2010 confirmed the worst news possible.
He had cancer of the lymph glands. It was in both sides of his upper torso.
Seven days of intensive chemotherapy followed to completely remove his own marrow, until he was left with no immune system.
He was isolated in a sterilised room. Only his wife and mother could visit him - and only if they wore hospital gowns and masks.
But just before Christmas 2012, he began to show signs of recovery. He had to learn to walk again and is now fighting fit once more.
Richard was one of more than a predicted 900 people who ran the race which took runners from The Domes through Seaton Carew and back again along the seafront.
Every step of the way, the fantastic people of Hartlepool came out to support the runners.
There were fancy dress characters who gave the race a real splash of colour. Also there to entertain the crowds were stalls and a funfair.