Numbers are up for Hartlepool fundraiser as he prepares for Sunday's Great North Run
Fantastic fundraiser Phil Holbrook is on course to achieve two milestones this weekend.
The first – a 13.1-mile course in itself – will be to complete his 30th Great North Run (GNR) tomorrow.
In doing so, Phil and his supporters hope to take the total they have raised for Hartlepool’s Alice House Hospice over the past seven years to £50,000.
Phil, 61, from the Fens area of town, and around a dozen running mates have been sponsored to complete Sunday’s 40th GNR.
Others participants, inspired by their efforts, also ask for T-shirts so that they too can run in the half marathon on behalf of the hospice.
Thanking everyone for their support, Phil said: “I am so grateful to everyone who has supported us over the years to help us reach £50,000.
"Now I have got to make sure I don’t let them down.”
Phil, a retired council worker, took part in the first GNR back in 1981 and competed in the event regularly until he was seriously injured in a car crash near Greatham which killed wife Sally, 48, in December 2012.
He recalled: “My mate Paul Brennen, the actor, who I’ve known since I was a child, visited me in hospital and said he would do the race for me in 2013 as long as I agreed to run with him the following year.
"I have not missed one since.”
Sally was a keen supporter of Alice House and the pair used to raise money together on its behalf.
Not that completing the GNR is Phil’s only method of raising money.
Sunday’s race, which will begin and end in Newcastle for the first time after changes were made to the course following the pandemic, is part of his ongoing #TeamSally 12-in-12 Challenge Series.
The monthly events, which continue until October, included dressing up as rock star Freddie Mercury in July as part of his quest to cycle 100 miles around town on a tandem with pal Darrel Slater.
To sponsor Phil’s ongoing efforts, search online to www.justgiving.com and search for Phil Holbrook #TeamSally 12-in-12 Challenge Series, Mk 2 (October 2020-October 2021)