Watch South Shields runner's inspirational story

Seven inspirational stories, including one from South Shields, have been told ahead of this year's Great North Run.

Thursday, 30th August 2018, 3:15 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th August 2018, 3:21 pm
John Maughan
John Maughan

It's just over a week until 57,000 people will set off on the Simplyhealth Great North Run (GNR).

This year, organisers have launched a local hero campaign to tell the stories of seven runners from across the UK who will take on the challenge on Sunday September 9.

John Maughan

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Their stories aim to show how the 13-mile run from Newcastle to South Shields is a celebration of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Brendan Foster, founder of the GNR, said: "This year's campaign, Be Your Greatest, doesn't mean be the first or be the last but it mean's be as good as you can be."

The founder, who is originally from Hebburn, added: "The whole idea of the Great North Run is allowing people to be as great as they can be and you will see that these people have gone on to do amazing things.

"So the finish of the GNR at South Sheilds on the seafront in a week on Sunday will be full of joyous people having done what they wanted to do, having done as well as they wanted to do and having done amazing things before and after the GNR.

The local heroes with Brendan Foster and Mayor of South Tyneside Coun Ken Stephenson (left) and the Mayoress Cathy Stephenson (right)

"For us to provide a platform for people to be their greatest is a privilege for us."

One of the seven runners highlighted in the campaign is South Shields man, John Maughan.

The 50-year-old is taking part in the iconic half marathon for the first time having applied for the Great North Run four times before.

He will be raising funds for the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, which is one of just three search and rescue units left in the country.

Brendan Foster (centre) founder of the Great North Run, with John Maughan, of South Shields (left), and Alex Oliver, of Durham (right)

John, who has been a volunteer at the brigade for the last five years, said: "It's an organisation that has been going since 1866 and it's a massive part of the area.

"It's a voluntary organisation run by pure volunteers and it depends massively on donations."

He added: "I've tried four times to get into the Great North Run so this is the first time I've managed to get in. I've always gone out and supported it and I think it's such a great thing for the area.

"To be a part of it this year is going to be massive."

The seven stories of the local heroes were unveiled for the first time at The Word in South Shields today (August 30).

The run will start in Newcastle and finish along the seafront at South Shields.

Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ken Stephenson said: “I think it’s fantastic for the borough that it ends here and it brings lots of people in.

“Some of the stories that you hear raising money for charity its phenomenal. People are giving up their time and doing it for nothing.

“John is an old friend of mine from years ago, we use to be in the scouts together. It was very nice to see him again.

“What he does now volunteering when people are in trouble I think it’s remarkable.”

The South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, in Pier Parade, will be open on September 9 for visitors.

To donate to John's fundraiser click here.