Brooks Shoe Finder

53-year-old Kenny Graham from South Shields is preparing to lace up his running shoes for the start of his 2023 running challenge. On the 2nd of July, Kenny will participate in the AJ Bell Great North 10K, ahead of his first ever AJ Bell Great North Run in September, in memory of his beloved wife, Billie-Joe and to raise funds for cancer research.

“Running has been one part of me trying to look after myself, that was one of my promises to Billie-Joe,” Kenny reflects. His wife, a selfless caregiver to many, had insisted on Kenny taking care of himself after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Billie-Joe’s life was a testament to helping others. A nurse on the front line during the first Gulf war, she later served as a midwife for over 20 years with the South Tyneside Healthcare Trust. She had recently become a grandmother when she received the devastating diagnosis of terminal stomach cancer, which had spread to her liver. Tragically, she passed away only two days before her treatment was due to begin.

Today, Kenny honours his wife’s memory by emphasising her devotion to her work and the people around her. “She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known, always going out of her way to help others.”

In order to fulfil his promise to his late wife, Kenny has decided to participate in the AJ Bell Great North 10K, an event he admits is out of his comfort zone. “I’m doing the 10k run as a stepping stone to help prepare for the Great North Run,” he shared.

“I’ve never done it before, but a family friend suggested we do it together this year in memory of Billie- Joe and to help fundraise for cancer-related charities.

“The event will be the first time I’ve ever run that distance or even competed in a run, so it will be a first.”

Kenny will line up alongside thousands of participants assembling on the iconic Great North Run Central Motorway start line as they take on a new and improved 10K course. Runners will cross the Tyne Bridge, loop back into the city centre, pass by well-known landmarks such as Grey’s Monument and the Civic Centre, and finally cross the finish line on the Town Moor.

There is still time to be a part of the AJ Bell Great North 10K on Sunday, July 2nd. For more information or to register, click here.