The world’s most famous half-marathon from Newcastle to South Shields saw 54,000 runners taking part this year in a mixture of sunshine and torrential rain, with runners from Lancaster Diocese soaking up the atmosphere too.
John McCann, deacon at The Good Shepherd and St Mary’s Parish in Morecambe, celebrated his 20th Great North Run while also raising valuable funds for CAFOD. A member of the Kendal Running Club, he ran the gruelling course in one hour 45 minutes – just a few minutes more than his time 20 years ago.
“The crowds were fantastic, there were people handing out treats and kids running alongside you wanting to give high fives – it really keeps you going. It’s amazing seeing so many people putting so much effort into raising money for those in need. It’s quite an emotional day. We raise a lot of money for CAFOD in our parish as we know they do so much fantastic work around the world. I’ve been really moved by the plight of the people suffering from the drought in East Africa and that certainly helped keep me going today and also helped boost my fundraising – people in Morecombe really do care about what is going on overseas.”
Cathy Lloyd, a drama and media studies teacher at St Mary’s Catholic College in Blackpool, ran her third Great North Run this time. She didn’t tell anyone she was taking part, but afterwards said:
“I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow and surprise them with what I’ve been up to. I’m sure they’ll be very supportive and donate some post-race money for CAFOD. It’s such a great atmosphere at the run it really keeps you going. I admit I found it hard but it’s also fun and strangely enjoyable. I get so emotional listening to all the stories of why people are running – there are some brave people who really go the extra mile for those in need.
“The whole school supports CAFOD and we’re very familiar with their work and know that everything we give goes to those who need it most. I’ve travelled to a few developing countries and seen the appalling conditions in which people are forced to live; we can do something to change this and running in the Great North Run is one small thing I can do.”
Meanwhile, 13 year old Michael Trelfa, did the Junior Great North Run for CAFOD the day before. Sadly he didn’t run as fast as he did the day he challenged Usain Bolt, but his aim of beating his big sister’s time of 23 minutes, was successful as he ran the course in an impressive 19 minutes, smashing his sister’s record (much to his satisfaction). Michael was proud to be wearing a CAFOD running vest and one day hopes to run the main Great North Run.
A massive THANK YOU to all of our runners from Lancaster Diocese – we’re very proud of you all!