To join Helen on the start line of Manchester’s best running event, visit greatrun.org/Manchester

INSPIRATIONAL runner Helen Bacon will return for this year’s Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run – and this time she’s bringing her friends.

Helen, 45, of, Manchester, had taken part in the 10k around the city centre on five previous occasions, but last year’s run took on greater significance as she is suffering from terminal cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.

The surgery and treatment Helen is receiving to treat a secondary breast cancer continues to hamper her training for the 6.2-mile event, but she is determined to be on the start line on Sunday, 20 May.

She said: “I’ve just finished another lot of chemo and I have a scan next week. Between chemos I’m well but this one has been particularly tough – I’ve had to take a little time off work. I’m just getting on with it.

“I need to get my fitness back up before May, but I have a cycling event before that – this weather is certainly helping.”

While she ran alone last year, she has managed to inspire two of her friends to run with her in the iconic run, which has become a must-do Manchester event since its launch in 2003.

She said: “We will run together. One has ran a bit in the past, but the other has never been a runner, so they’re starting from scratch which is quite exciting.

I know they’re enjoying the training and looking forward to it as I am so that should be a really good part of the day.

“This year I suspect that given the others are not runners, we will do it at their speed. It’s not about the time, it’s about the taking part. I think it’s such a great event.”

Helen will again be raising funds for Pegasus Riding for the Disabled in Poynton, Stockport where she is a coach and trustee, and has continued to take sessions there despite her illness.

She added: “Pegasus is very much at the forefront of what I’m doing so I’m definitely going to be running for them this year.

“I’m still taking sessions, it’s been nice to do that – we’ve grown the group, it’s really great and I love it.”

To join Helen on the start line of Manchester’s best running event, visit greatrun.org/Manchester