Great North Run: South Tynesiders take on world’s biggest half marathon

Great North Run 2015 - l-r Paddy McShane, Brian Hurst, Peg Mole and Mick Thornton of Jarrow & Hebburn AC.
Great North Run 2015 - l-r Paddy McShane, Brian Hurst, Peg Mole and Mick Thornton of Jarrow & Hebburn AC.

South Tyneside runners hit the pavement today to take on the Great North Run.

Whether part of a club or rasing cash for charity, they were among more than 50,000 people to complete the 13.1mile course from Newcastle to South Shields.

Great North Run 2015 - Scott Nichol

Great North Run 2015 - Scott Nichol

Jarrow & Hebburn Athletics Club members Paddy McShane, Brian Hurst, Mick Thornton and Peg Mole tackled the course in around 1hr 42mins.

Paddy, who took on the course for the 10th time, said: “We tried to run together the whole way but we got separated for a while.

“It’s always a good run but this year was brilliant, it’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. The support along the way was amazing.”

South Shields Harriers member Scott Nichol took on his eighth run.

Great North Run 2015 - Paul Heley

Great North Run 2015 - Paul Heley

The 36-year-old social worker, from Westoe, South Shields, said: “It was really good and the conditions were great, and the support along the way was brilliant.

“This is my first time running as a Harrier and people were shouting, ‘come on, South Shields’ at me along the way, and something like that really keeps you going when you’re struggling.”

Paul Heley, 36, of Marsden, South Shields, was running to raise cash for St Clare’s Hospice, in Jarrow, which provides palliative care to the people of South Tyneside with life-limiting illnesses.

The maintenance technician completed the run in 1hr 53mins.

Great North Run 2015 - Alison Maynard, Principal of South Tyneside College

Great North Run 2015 - Alison Maynard, Principal of South Tyneside College

He said: “My wife, Joanne, works at St Clare’s and it was her that inspired me to do the run for them. I know they need to raise about £2.2m every year and the work they do is amazing.

“This was my second run and it was no bother the first eight mile but it’s the last five that really gets you. The atmosphere was amazing and it really kept me going.”

South Tyneside College principal Alison Maynard wore a vest encouraging people to enrol at the college as she tackled the run.

She completed it in 2hr 10mins. She said: “This was my second run but my first one in 13 years. It was hard but the crowd kept me going.

Andrew Reilly

Andrew Reilly

“That last bit when you come into South Shields and everyone is cheering for you is brilliant. I’ll definitely be back to do it again next year, and hopefully I’ve recruited some new students along the way.”

Jarrow’s Andrew Reilly ran in memory of his friend Joanne Cullen, who died at the age of 21 from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or sudden heart failure, in 1998.

The 39-year-old was raising money for charity Cardiomyopathy UK and completed the run in 2hr 4mins, raising more than £600.

He said: “I’ve done it plenty of times before but it was harder this time because of the heat, but the atmosphere was fantastic and it really spurs you on.”

South Shields FC player Jonny Wightman, 31, from South Shields, finished his first ever Great North Run in 2hr 6mins.

The South Tyneside Council worker said: “I thought I did alright. My legs are killing me, though. It was very warm, which was difficult to deal with at times, but the little bit of a breeze towards the end helped.

Jonny Wightman

Jonny Wightman

“The atmosphere helped a lot as well. When you live here, you always think you should do it, so I’m pleased to be able to say I have now. I’m due to play for South Shields on Tuesday against Crook, and I’m sure I’ll be fine by then.”