Putting our region's cancer needs first

Our Great North Runners

A group of runners have taken to the streets of Newcastle alongside a crowd of 60,000 for this year’s Great North Run.

Michael Keane and Paul Russell

40-year-old Michael Keane, from St Helens, took on the run for the first time to support local cancer research projects. Michael, a radiographer working across two different trusts in the Liverpool area, has been inspired to support cancer research charities since his sister’s cancer diagnosis in 2018.

This year, Michael chose to support North West Cancer Research and with a goal to raise as much as possible, Michael has even donated £1,000 himself toward his sponsorship.

Michael has smashed his initial target of £350, raising a massive £3,600 by sharing his Just Giving page with family and friends. After fitting in training around a busy work schedule, his efforts paid off as he finished the race in two hours and ten minutes.

Michael said: “For a number of years now, cancer research has been a cause close to my heart. Thanks to advancements in research, my sister was able to make a full recovery from her diagnosis in 2018.

“The run was an amazing experience from start to finish. The weather was perfect, and the Red Arrows flew over to start us off and get the adrenaline pumping. It was such a good vibe to run with so many who had a different story to tell but are all there for the same purpose.”

Paul Russell, a sonographer from Kirkby, also took on the Great North Run for the first time, fundraising alongside friend Michael.

Paul’s training regime started back in January with 2km runs on the treadmill before he took to the streets of Kirkby with 5km and 10km runs, progressing to 18km alongside his pal. On the day Paul finished in just under 2 hours 30 minutes, raising £330.

Paul said: “The weather was hot and sunny and everyone was in good spirits. The crowd was a huge help with their support after my pace slowed and I managed to speed up again for the last mile.”

“My friend Mike encouraged me to sign up for the charity spot and I’m honoured to be able to run for North West Cancer Research. In my job I unfortunately see patients who are diagnosed with or have battled cancer for many years, so it’s great to support a charity that does wonderful work in  understanding cancer and developing technologies and treatments that will help improve survival rates.”

Saud Khan is also new to the Great North Run, taking on the challenge as he explores his new hometown  of Newcastle. Saud, a doctor who recently started working at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, has raised £380 in sponsorship by sharing his fundraising page on his social media.

Saud started his training at the beginning of August, which paid off as he finished in two hours and three minutes.

Due to his patient-focused role in the NHS, Saud has regular contact with those battling cancer. He said: “I see patients day in, day out who have had their lives turned upside down because of cancer, which inspired me to take part in this year’s Great North Run and raise what I can for cancer research.

“Not only does cancer affect one person but the entire family. Seeing them having to deal with such intense emotions does make me wonder about life and how fortunate we all are to have our loved ones with us.

“The run was great and there was so much support throughout the entire event. It was so encouraging to see people of all ages being involved too. It’s definitely an event and cause I would suggest to anyone.”


Fancy taking on Great North Run 2024? Head to nwcr.org/events and sign up now!