MAIL head of features Chris Cordner is set to support a charity close to his heart when he competes in his third Great North Run this year.
He explains why he'll be donning the running colours of Asthma UK in this year's 13-mile challenge – and why the GNR is not his only goal for 2011-12.
RUNNING is a strenuous task.
It becomes all the more harder when you have an ongoing medical condition.
I have lived with asthma for years and always have to have an inhaler with me when I tackle the many runs I commit to each year. I use it before I run as well as during the event itself.
My goal for 2011, and into 2012?
To complete my third Great North Run – but this year, it won't be the end goal. I plan to continue the momentum to tackle my first full marathon in the first half of 2012.
Asthma facts, figures and advice
I can think of no greater challenge than to complete 26 miles of running on English soil in the year when Britain becomes the centre of the world's attention through the London Olympics.
I am hoping to enter one of Britain's bigger marathons next year.
Perhaps London or Brighton, finances permitting. Perhaps a lesser known event if they don't.
So a tough year beckons and, all the while, controlling my asthma will be among my foremost thoughts.
I still get days when I wake in the middle of the night, struggling to breathe and reaching for the little blue inhaler to relieve the symptoms.
The constant threat of colds, bugs and flu is another menace for any asthmatic at this time of year. There are few things worse than trying to breathe properly when you're under the weather. Add asthma into the mix and it is an absolute pain. For some sufferers, it can even be life threatening.
Summer brings its own challenges with hayfever as a potential hazard. It makes for a year-round battle for fitness and that's before you don the training shoes.
It is important to keep asthma in the limelight I shall certainly be doing that in the weeks and months ahead.
In the meantime, I have drawn up a rough itinerary for my running challenges this year and hope to improve on my personal bests for each.
I'm sure I will get close with the continuing support of the team at Springs gym.
So watch out for me in the following events – weather, fitness and asthma permitting.
Sunday, March 27: Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile Road Race.
Sunday, May 15: Tees Pride 5k Road Race, Middlesbrough.
Sunday, June 12: Redcar Half Marathon.
Sunday, June 26: Darlington 10k
Sunday, September 4: Tees Pride 10k Road Race, Middlesbrough.
Sunday, September 18: Great North Run.
Date to be arranged: Great North 10k, Sunderland.