Saturday's Park Run to be dedicated to South Shields dad
A Saturday morning run is set to be turned into a celebration of a much-loved South Tyneside man's life.
Mark Wood would take his place on the starting line for the South Shields ParkRun every Saturday.
This Saturday, family and friends are being invited to join the weekly run to pay tribute to the 42-year-old who died at the weekend.
Those taking part are being asked to wear black and white as Mark, who was dad to James and Katie, was a huge Newcastle United fan.
The event has been organised by friend and fellow runner, Craig Robe.
Craig said: “Mark was a big character around South Shields Harriers and has left a void that cannot be filled.
“He was a brilliant dad to James and Katie and was so proud of the two of them.
“Katie is following in her dad’s footsteps and is already an established runner in her own right.
“I first met Mark about four years ago at the South Shields ParkRun. From there we took similar paths and both joined the harriers to improve ourselves.”
Mark, 42, a former taxi driver from Whiteleas, South Shields, was also a leading light in the Glen Corner Trust to help famillies affected by knife crime, took part in the Great North Run earlier this month - setting a personal best.
He died at the weekend.
Craig added: “Like him I have a passion for running the Great North Run. We both always regarded that race above all others.
“He has done it 14 times to my 13 so I know how much heart and effort he put into that race.
“He trained all year and trained hard but sensibly to get that personal best. The other race he loved doing was the South Shields ParkRun which he rarely missed.
“I would often drop him a message on Facebook on a Saturday morning which simply said “ParkRun??”.
“That’s why this Saturday I’m asking all his friends and family to come down and celebrate him with me at 9am.
“Mark was a massive Newcastle United fan so I thought as a nice touch if we could all wear black and white or if you have one a Newcastle United top.”
The current attendance record for a ParkRun is 329 and organisers hope to smash that figure on Saturday. Craig added: “I’m planning on trying to break the record. I think Mark would have loved that.
“Since I started this post on Facebook I have had people from all over messaging me asking how they can come down and get involved and simply show how much they loved him.
“I have had old school friends and work colleagues contact me so I think its going to be a big turn out on Saturday. This to me shows what a well loved man he was. A massive turn out this could yet again get him another PB!”
To take part in the 5k course meet behind the new Colmans restaurant for a 9am start.