Ruth's run of half marathons to continue as she nears her 81st birthday
A pensioner who was inspired to take part in her first Great North Run after watching the first event will be tackling the course for the 16th time this weekend at the age of 80.
Ruth Anderson saw competitors jogging through her home town of South Shields in 1981 and signed up for her first one when it returned the next year.
Now the grandmother-of-four is preparing to take part in Sunday’s race, which will come in the wake of her recent achievement at recording the fastest mile for her age group in the Run Britain challenge.
Her run around a course in Bents Park gained her a time of 10 minutes 16 seconds - although she hoped to get her time at 10 minutes or under.
Ruth, of Steward Crescent, Marsden, will be taking part in this year’s event to raise funds for the Macular Society and will be joining daughter-in-law Louise on the starting line.
Her grandson Liam, 11, will also be taking part in the festival after singing up for the Junior Great North Run on Saturday.
Ruth, who will celebrate her next birthday later this month, said: “I will just do it and try and enjoy it and I thought I’d do it for this charity.
“I don’t do the internet so someone’s set up a Just Giving page for me and within 48 hours, I got £200.
“I started running it after seeing it the first year, because we’d finished a game of squash in Whitburn and the car wouldn’t start so we walked home and ended up standing and watching the runners.
“I said ‘We should really do it next time.’”
Ruth, who will soon celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary with 80-year-old husband Chaf - also known as Charles - trains twice a week with South Shields Harriers and runs around 25 miles a week.
The former play scheme and youth club leader, who worked for South Tyneside Council for 30 years, has also completed four London Marathons, in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013, with her best time her first at 5 hours 37 minutes, and also climbed Machu Picchu with former Metro FM presenter Tony Horne in 2011.
Ruth, who is mum to Keith and Jeff, is aiming to complete her next Great North in around 2 hours 45 minutes.
She also enjoys other sports including table tennis and cycling.
Donations to her sponsorship fund can be made via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ruth-anderson3.