Headteacher inspired by pupil to take on first ever Great North Run

Great North Run entrant Michael Arthur.
Great North Run entrant Michael Arthur.

A headteacher is taking on the Great North Run for the first time after being inspired by a pupil.

Dad-of-one Michael Arthur, from Hebburn, has lived in the North East for 30 years and says he can’t wait to be part of the iconic event.

Great North Run entrant Michael Arthur.

Great North Run entrant Michael Arthur.

The 37-year-old, who was headteacher at Bede Burn Primary, in Jarrow, until the end of the last academic year, is taking on the 13.1-mile run, on Sunday, September 1, for charity SHINE.

The organisation helps people with spina bifida and hydrocephalus and their families.

Michael, who is set to begin his new job as headteacher at Hebburn’s Toner Avenue Primary in September, was inspired to get involved with the charity by Grace Macintosh, a Year 4 pupil at Bede Burn, who has hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid that puts pressure on the brain.

Michael said: “When she came to the school she was in a wheelchair and couldn’t really walk at all. Her parents approached me about having a ‘yellow day’ at school, because that’s the charity’s colour.

“I thought it was a great idea so all the kids came in wearing yellow and made a little donation, and since then I’ve stayed in touch with the charity.

“There’s a Paralympic badminton player who has the condition called Gobi Ranganathan, who works with the charity. I got talking to him and he even came into the school to talk to the children.

“And when I decided to do the Great North Run for the first time, it seemed right to do it for the charity.”

The money Michael raises will be split between SHINE and the palliative care unit at North Tyneside General Hospital, where his best friend Ross McMillan, who was battling cancer, spent the final days of his life.

Michael said: “I’ve never really ran before – if there wasn’t a football involved them I wasn’t bothered.

“But I’ve lived in the North East for 30 years now and I watch it every year. I always go down to cheer on the runners and you can see them getting that little bit of extra energy when you’re cheering for them and shouting their names.

“The first time I went out for a run I did 1.9 miles and I was pretty much done in, but now I can do a 10 mile run and still feel fresh enough to carry on for another three.

“I’ve found myself really loving it as well. I hurt my back a few weeks ago and was getting really agitated because I couldn’t get out running for a few days.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Great North Run and experience that atmosphere.”

To sponsor Michael, go to www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/GNR