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.

Saturday, 11th September 2021, 11:20 am

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.

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Phil Holbrook with a collection of his Great North Run numbers and medals from previous years.

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.

Sally Holbrook, who died in a car crash in December 2012, was a strong supporter of Alice House Hospice.

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.

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