SUPERGRAN Ruth Anderson will be competing in her 16th and final Great North Run this weekend – unless she is talked out of retirement again.
Last year’s Newcastle to South Shields half-marathon was meant to be a fond farewell to the event for Mrs Anderson, who celebrates her 78th birthday later this month.
But a friend persuaded her into making one final appearance and a spokesman for run organisers Nova International said Mrs Anderson was believed to be the oldest female competitor.
Not that competing in the gruelling course gets any easier with the advancing years for the retired youth and community leader.
And this year she is taking the challenge even more seriously by pumping iron at the Powerhouse Gym in South Shields to build up her stamina.
Over the years, Mrs Anderson, who will be competing for the children’s Toma Fund, has raised countless thousands of pounds for charity.
She said: “I’ll be 78 on September 20 and every year gets harder. Last year’s Great North Run was going to be my last one, but a friend talked me into doing it again.
“It will be my 16th since my first in 1982. I have raised thousands of poundsover the years and have competed in four London Marathons and various other half-marathons.
“Attending the Powerhouse Gym this year has really helped to build up my stamina. The trainers there have been most helpful.
“Having spent almost 30 years working as a youth and community leader I have a strong interest in the welfare of children.
“That swayed me to raise funds for the Toma Fund, which is such a worthy cause in the fight against children’s cancer.”
Earlier this year, Mrs Anderson, of Steward Crescent, South Shields, raised £1,360 for MACS, a charity which supports babies born without eyes, or with undeveloped eyes, after competing in the London Marathon.
And before next Sunday’s big event, she will be the oldest competitor in the one-mile Junior Great North Run, competing alongside her eight-year-old grandson Liam.
The grandmother-of-four added: “After my first Great North Run I said I would stop, but I’ve been doing it for more than 30 years.”
*If you can support Mrs Anderson go to www.justgiving.com-RUTH-M-ANDERSON or JustTextGiving at CAFQ74.