Bringing Up The Rear At The Great Manchester Run
Brave Ian Simmonds was very much a winner despite finishing in almost last place in a field of almost 40,000 runners.
He could only walk the 10k route of the Morrisons Great Manchester Run last year as he recovered from a brain tumour and stroke.
It took him a respectable two hours 14 minutes to complete the course and Ian admitted he was very touched that crowds and officials stayed behind to cheer him over the finishing line.
Ian, from Duxbury, Chorley, had been an ever present in the Run, usually finishing in a time of just under an hour midway through the field, until his serious illness.
He underwent a life-saving operation to remove a brain tumour in 2012 and had the misfortune to suffer a stroke during the course of surgery.
Ian, aged 58, said: "Doctors told me there was less than a one per cent chance of a stroke and obviously I didn't think it was going to happen to me. They said I'd be stupid to do the Run in 2013 and with hindsight they were right."
He was, though, back last year and joined by 17-year-old daughter Laura, who was born with an encephalocele, an inflammation of the brain.
"We were last after just half a kilometre and so it was a great sense of achievement to finish the Run. I have trouble with my balance and hearing and need to use a walking stick.
"The crowds were cheering and clapping and I was pleasantly surprised by how many marshals were still there to welcome home the stragglers. I thought they might have gone by the time we finished.
"I'm about 35 per cent capacity of where I was beforehand and can't run but I'm determined to keep improving. Unfortunately, my illness has meant I haven't returned to my job as a Chartered Accountant."
Ian and Laura aim to finish the 2015 Run in under two hours and are fundraising for Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where she was a patient. To sponsor them go to www.justgiving.com/Ian-Simmonds2.
To enter the Morrisons Great Manchester Run go to www.greatrun.org/Manchester