Thousands will take part in the Great North Run including a mum and dad from Yorkshire and three friends from Bridlington.Catherine Scott reports.
When more than 57,000 people take to the streets of Newcastle in the Great North Run this weekend they will all have a special reason for doing so.
For some it will be about getting their personal best time, for others it will be raise as much money for charity as possible, and for others there are very personal reasons for doing so.
One of those will be a West Yorkshire sales director who is on target to smash the Great North Run half marathon to fight meningitis.
Thirty-six-year-old Nickie McIntyre, from Normanton, will be taking part in her first Great North Run – one of the world’s largest half marathons – this Sunday September 8 for charity Meningitis Now.
Nickie has a very personal reason for supporting the charity,
Her son, Lucas’ suffered the disease eight years ago when he was just 17-months-old.
“Lucas contracted Men B along with septicaemia,” says Nickie.
“He was very lucky and was treated quickly.
“Last year though we discovered some of the cognitive issues he has today could be related to an acquired brain injury caused by the disease.
“Since Lucas was ill we have always tried to raise awareness of the disease with other parents and have always supported Meningitis Now.
“We really appreciate the support it gives to us and other families and would like to raise as much money as possible to support this great charity and help other families.
“I enjoy running,” Nickie added “and have two other half marathons under my belt.
“I like to challenge myself and the Great North Run is the big one – I will be proud to complete it.
“Running has benefited me in so many ways.”
The mother of two will be running with her husband Ron, who is a novice runner.
Michaela Ifill, Events Fundraiser at Meningitis Now, said: “What a fantastic way to fight back against meningitis and we wish Nickie and Ron all the best for the Great North Run.
“As a charity that receives no Government funding we rely on the energy, initiative and enthusiasm of our supporters to continue our vital work.
“For the many people who have been and continue to be affected by meningitis and for those who will sadly be affected in the future, Meningitis Now offers a lifeline. Support like this ensures that this lifeline can continue.”
Meningitis Now is working towards a future where no one in the UK loses their life to meningitis and everyone affected gets the support they need.
Nickie and Ron will be joined by thousands of other runners from sportsmen and women to celebrities and many like them running for a selection of different charities.
Cricketing hero Mark Wood, from the World Cup winning England side will join Lionesses Steph Houghton and Jill Scott, who reached the semi-finals at the Women’s Football World Cup in France, are the official starters podium at this year’s Simplyhealth Great North Run.
Also taking part will be Sarah Peters, Sue Rutter and Dorothy Alderson.
The trio met through their love of dance at a local ballroom and latin school near Bridlington.
When Sue developed cancer the three friends decided to take up running as an essential part of Sue’s cancer treatment and recovery.
“We run out and back from Richie’s cafe where we have a post-run lemon and ginger tea and set the world to rights,” explains Sarah
“This gave us our name Strictly Richie’s Runners. I’ve come to realise that our small group has never solely been about physical fitness: it’s the power of friendship; positive mental attitudes and the feeling of being alive.”
They decided to enter this weekend’s Great North Run to raise money for Candlelighters in support of their work to battle children’s cancer.
A total of 57,000 people are registered for the iconic 13.1 mile run which starts on the Central Motorway in Newcastle before making its way through Gateshead, finally finishing at the coast in South Shields.
To support Nickie and Ron’s efforts visit the funding page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nickieandazz
To support Sue, Sarah and Dotvisit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/strictlyrichiesrunners