Pensioner couple ready to cross Great North Run finish line for the final time

Great North Runners Ruth and Charles Anderson, who are supporting the campaign to protect services at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Great North Runners Ruth and Charles Anderson, who are supporting the campaign to protect services at South Tyneside District Hospital.

A pensioner couple are planning to tackle the Great North Run route for the final time - at the age of 82.

Ruth and Charles Anderson, from Steward Crescent in Marsden, will both be taking on their 18th GNR next Sunday.

Ruth and Charles Anderson will be running to raise funds for the  the Macular Society.

Ruth and Charles Anderson will be running to raise funds for the the Macular Society.

They plan to make it their last, with a charity close to their own heart chosen to benefit from the funds they raise.

They will be running in return for sponsorship for Macular Society, particularly in support of research into Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

The condition causes blood vessels at the back of the eye to swell and leak and, if left untreated, it can cause blindness.

Ruth has personal experience of suffering with AMD and knows how difficult it can be for people to cope with their day-to-day lives.

We thought we’d go out on our last together.

Ruth Anderson

AMD is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK and affects more that 600,000 people and around one in every 200 people has AMD at the age of 60, rising to one in five by the age of 90.

Ruth, a retired community worker, and Charles, who was as a teacher at Mortimer Community College, haven’t always taken part in the same runs, but are looking forward to reaching the milestone together next weekend.

Ruth, who will wear her Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign t-shirt and is a regular Parkrun participant, said: “We’ve done it to raise money for other charities before, but this time we wanted it to go and help the research, because they have just had a major breakthrough and we want to make sure that reaches people.

“We’ll both be doing it for the 18th time, but we’ve always been one or two away from each other, because there have been years we’ve missed.

“We thought we’d go out on our last together.

“We’ve been getting up to six miles, then eight and we’ll be up to nine, so we’ll be ready for the day.

“It is absolutely our last.

“People will say you’ve been saying this for so many years and have still done it, but this will be the final one.

The couple are parents to Keith, 60, and Jeffrey, 53, and are grandparents of four.

They were first inspired to join in the event after spotting runners following the route through their home town on its inaugural year in June 1981 - it is now the World’s biggest half marathon.

Anyone who would like to donate can visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruthandcharles-anderson.