Check out this South Shields dad's comical efforts to replace the town's iconic Running Man

A South Shields dad has taken it upon himself to fill the role of the town’s popular Running Man sculpture after its disappearance sparked concern among residents.

Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 4:45 pm

The famous sculpture of the Running Man, usually located on the Mowbray roundabout near the New Crown pub, at the seafront, has been missing from its spot since last week.

The topiary statue was placed there in celebration of the Great North Run, which has been held in the town for almost four decades.

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Mick Johnson decided to don a Santa suit and stand in the middle of the roundabout in place of the Running Man.
Mick Johnson decided to don a Santa suit and stand in the middle of the roundabout in place of the Running Man.

But his place was briefly filled by Mick Johnson – known as Mad Mick – who decided to don a Santa suit and stand in the middle of the roundabout.

His comical efforts attracted praise from passers by – with many people slowing down as they passed to get a better look.

The 48-year-old, who lives near the roundabout, said he missed seeing the sculpture each day and wanted to do something fun to make people laugh.

He chose to wear the Santa suit in reference to the Christmas decorations placed on the Running Man that transform him into Santa each year.

Running dog joins the running man on Coast Road GNR finish point

Mick said: “I live just off the roundabout and I got up one morning and saw the sculpture had gone.

“I put a comment on Facebook and it had loads of reaction.

“I thought it would be funny if I stood on the roundabout dressed as Santa in his place.”

Mick stood on the roundabout for around 20 minutes as part of the comical stunt on Tuesday, which has attracted praise from residents.

Mick Johnson in place of the Running Man.

Friend Maria Beer, who took photos of Mick in action on the roundabout, said: “People thought it was hilarious.

“It was just a bit of fun to make people laugh during the Christmas season.”

In 2017, a topiary running dog sculpture was placed next to the man on the roundabout, in honour of the Great North Dog Walk.

Since then the pair have become a well-known sight for visitors.

Mick Johnson in place of the Running Man.