Meet our Great North Runners. Let us introduce you to Brian…

Our Great North Run team is often a mix of first time runners and those who have joined the team year after year and share their experience and guidance across our running family.

We’d like to introduce you to Brian, who has taken on a number of Great North Run’s and recently completed out first ever 100 mile cycle challenge. Here Brian tells us why he chooses to run for St Oswald’s Hospice and describes his experiences of this iconic North East run.

“This is my 4th time running the Great North Run for St Oswald’s Hospice, my family received their care and support many years ago and I just like to show our appreciation and give a little something back.

I’ve always wanted to run the GNR but always put it off, until my Daughter finally signed me up for the 2020 event. Sadly due to the pandemic and locks downs we had to create our own route which wasn’t the same, so I knew I would have to sign up again and do the iconic route eventually.  I rejoined the team for 2021 and with some restrictions still in place I ran the new route through Newcastle; and finally ran the famous route to the South Shields finish line last year (2022).

I’m really looking forward to being on the team again this year; training steadily away and the excitement is starting to build! I always wonder if I have done enough preparation but that soon fades away when you start walking to the finish line. The flocks of people finding their way down the central motorway to their starting point, you get to chat to so many different people from all over the country; a real mix of nationality’s, ages, abilities it really is incredible. Everyone is there for their own challenge or personal reasons and it reminds me why I am there too. Any doubts go out your mind and I just feel excited to get going!

The atmosphere is amazing! There is excitement, happiness, sadness as we remember loved ones then BANG the start pistol goes off and so do you, alongside thousands of other runners and you realize this is it, you’re actually doing the icon Great North Run!”

Talking about how he approaches the run on the day, Brian said:

“I try to stay steady and not go off too fast and enjoy the crowds and banter as you pass over the Tyne Bridge; sometimes if you’re lucky just as the Red Arrows flying overhead. As you get closer to South Shields you know the finish line is within reach. My legs are usually feeling it by then but I just focus on why I am doing it and as you turn that final corner onto the seafront – wow – the noise from the crowds it electric!. It gives you a new lease of life back in your legs and spurs you on to the finish line for that last little sprint then you’re over the line – you did it!

From there it’s just the last few steps back to the St Oswald’s Hospice tent where you are welcomed by the most fantastic crowd of staff, volunteers and helpers and delicious snacks and treats. A real highlight but you’ll have to sign up and run to taste for yourself.

Now approaching his fourth run for St Oswald’s Hospice, and second time on the classic route we asked Brian what he would say to anyone considering joining us this year, and top tips for training;

“If anyone was unsure about doing the GNR I would say give it a go! You will amaze yourself at what you can achieve and it doesn’t matter if you finish first, or last, you’ll have done your best and had fun doing it. Everyone is a winner really as you’re doing something that really helps the Hospice and their patients and families.

My top tips for anyone joining the event for the first time this year would be to keep yourself hydrated! And comfortable supportive trainers – sorry not your slippers! Well fitted trainers can make all the difference both to your training and on the day.

Running is a great way to keep fit and healthy but it’s also about being part of the bigger family and community. The people you’ll meet out and about while training, at park runs and on race day itself; you’ll always find someone to talk too and I’ve made friends for life.

I choose to run for St Oswald’s Hospice as it is a fantastic place and worthy cause. The staff are one of a kind. Although I know it’s their job and they do what they do best – in my eyes they are angels!”

If you are feeling inspired by Brian and would like to join us for the Great North Run 2023; you can sign up to the team here. Entries close on Friday 30th June. 


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