PreparatioN is the key to success at the Great North Run, and one charity champion will have plenty of miles in his legs ahead of this Sunday’s big race.
Stephen Cummings will warm up for the half-marathon by tackling stage one of the Tour of Britain cycle race on Saturday as part of an epic fundraising drive.
The Great North Run will be the 16th of 17 charity challenges taken on by the Hebburn-born 44-year-old since March in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.
Mr Cummings is fundraising as his way of thanking all those who have cared for his mother Doris Cummings, 83, since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
He said: “The Hebburn branch of the Alzheimer’s Society was absolutely essential to both myself and my wife when my mum was first diagnosed.
“I am hoping, through this year of challenges, to give something back to the society, and maybe allow it to help other people in the same position as we were.
“Luckily, I cycle 30 miles to and from work every day, which has helped.
“I’ve raised more than £2,500 so far. I think I’ve been giving good value for the sponsorship.
“The hardest challenge was the first one in Spennymoor. It was freezing, and the roads were icy, but it didn’t put me off. It couldn’t do, as the next challenge was a week after.” Mr Cummings, formerly of Hebburn but now living in Gateshead, completed that 62-mile bike ride in Spennymoor in April, ran the Sunderland City 10K race the same month, got back in the saddle for a coast-to-coast ride from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland, then got his running shoes back on for the Great North 10k Run.
This month has been his most gruelling yet, kicking off with a 99-mile cycle around the Malvern Hills, followed by a 300-mile ride through England, France and Belgium.
He will get on his marks for the Great North Run just a day after his 100-mile ride on the Scottish stage of the Tour of Britain, racing along the same long and winding route that Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins and the rest of the field will face.
Mr Cummings, a dad of one, added: “To date this year, I have cycled 3,400 miles and run almost 620 miles, both in training and at the events. Now, I’m hoping to finish it off on a high.”
His final challenge will take place on Saturday, October 5, in the form of the Kielder Marathon Run Bike Run, a seven-mile run followed by a 16-mile bike ride and another four-mile run.
To boost his total by donating, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/Cummings
STEPHEN’S CHARITY CHALLENGES
Mr Cummings agreed to shave off his hair on March 31
April 7 – Spennymoor Sportive: 100km bike ride round Weardale with 5,000 ft of climbing. Completed in 4 hrs 52 minutes
April 13 – Velo 29 Daffodil Sportive: 60km bike ride round North Yorks Moors. Completed in 2hrs 18 minutes
April 21 – Stockton Duathlon: 5km Run, 20km bike, 2.5km run. Completed in 1hr 18 minutes
April 28 – Sunderland City 10km run: Completed in 52 minutes 44 seconds
May 19 – Tees Valley Sportive. 80km bike ride through North Yorks Moors Completed in 3 hrs 7 minutes
June 8 and 9 – C2C Bike Ride. 220km bike ride from Whitehaven in Cumbria to Sunderland with 11,000 ft of climbing, ridden over two days. Completed in 10 hrs 18 minutes
June 23 – Great North 10k run. Completed in 50 minutes 48 seconds
June 29 – Virgin Money Cyclone. 100km bike ride through Northumberland with circa 4,500 ft of climbing. Completed in 3 hrs 41 minutes
July 6 – Velo 29 Altura Endeavour Sportive. 100km bike ride through North Yorks Moors 5,500 ft of climbing. Completed in 4 hrs 13 minutes
August 4 – Wiggle Northern Angel Sportive. 100km bike ride through Northumberland National Park with circa 4,000 ft of climbing. Completed in 4 hrs 2 minutes
August 25 – Great North Bike Ride. 100km bike ride from Seahouses – Tynemouth Completed in 3 hrs 41 minutes
September 1 – Wiggle Malvern Mad Hatter Sportive. 160km bike ride round the Malvern Hills with circa 5,200ft of climbing
September 5 to 8 London – Brussels bike ride. Circa 300 miles through England, France & Belgium over three days
September 14 – Tour Ride Scotland. 100 mile bike ride taking in the Scottish stage of this year’s Tour Of Britain
September 15 – The Great North Run – the world’s most iconic half marathon starting in Newcastle & finishing in South Shields
October 5 – Kielder Marathon Run Bike Run. 11km run followed by 25km bike ride and finally another 6km run making up a full marathon distance