This September, Mike Adamson, chief executive officer of the British Red Cross, will be lacing his trainers and donning the Lycra in preparation for the Great North Run. He’ll be joining thousands of runners pounding the streets of Newcastle to raise money for charity. In this blog, Mike shares stories of youthful cross country runs, his love for Newcastle and the ‘breakfast of champions’.

Streets of my childhood

I can’t wait for the Great North Run on 13 September. It’s the most prestigious half-marathon in the UK and possibly the world. And the cherry on the cake – it’s in my home town.

I love running in big events so it will be fantastic to be part of the action in Newcastle. It’s where I went to school and my mum still lives there.  

And – though it sometimes goes against my better judgement – I remain a lifelong Newcastle United supporter. But this season is going to be different… Isn’t it?

Running over the years

I first got into running through cross country at school. I wasn’t an immediate fan.

In fact, the only thing worse than that was being in the second row of the scrum at rugby. Given the choice, I stuck with running – and even though I was no great shakes, I became part of the Newcastle city team.

Since then, I’ve ran on and off over the years. My personal best for a half-marathon is about one hour 35 minutes. Since that was probably over 25 years ago, there is no chance of me beating it!

Putting things in perspective

Lorna (my wife) and I are both members of a running club. On a Sunday morning, we join a group of runners at 8am for a two-hour run around the hills and valleys of Gloucestershire.

We are surrounded by fields and hills, so I hardly ever run on the road. I love the sense of freedom – it helps keep things in perspective.

During the week it’s trickier to find the time. There’s a lot of research that says even getting out of breath for 15 minutes can make a difference, so I try to fit in short runs when I can.

Breakfast of champions

My favourite breakfast is a good fry-up. That may not be ideal for a long run but it could be a good treat for after the Great North Run!

Muesli, yogurt and banana with an orange juice and coffee will do the trick on the day.

On the playlist

On a long run, I love catching up with podcasts like Desert Island Discs, Front Row and Friday Night Comedy. Time flies!

Everyone can do something to help others

It's not easy raising the money we need to undertake our life-changing work for people in crisis.

I think it is important that everyone has a go at some point in the year, even if they just shake a bucket in Red Cross Week. The CEO is no exception.

If you’re thinking about a running challenge, just ensure you have time to prepare. Then enjoy the sense of wellbeing that running can give you.