A host of well-known names are getting ready for this year’s AJ Bell Great North Run. Renowned entrepreneur Sara Davies, comedian Lee Ridley and Emmerdale stars Laura Norton and Isabel Hodgins will be lining up alongside 60,000 other runners on the start line of the iconic event on Sunday 10 September.
Sara Davies will be running to raise crucial funds for the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust Charity, an organisation close to her heart.
Born and bred in County Durham, the award-winning business woman is now poised to make her mark on the running world when she takes on the 13.1-mile course from Newcastle to South Shields later this year.
Sara said, “I believe deeply in the work done by the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust so I’m really looking forward to taking part in a northern institution like the Great North Run.
“Though I really enjoy running in my spare time, this isn’t just a personal challenge for me, it’s also a great way to raise awareness of the crucial services they provide and to pay tribute to the tireless efforts of their staff for our community.
Lost Voice Guy, aka Lee Ridley, will also take on the AJ Bell Great North Run for the first time this year.
The Britain’s Got Talent winner will be pushed in a wheelchair by four friends to raise money for Smile For Life children’s charity. The comedian suffers from a form of cerebral palsy leaving him unable to speak and affecting his movement.
Smile for Life aim to improve the lives of young people with disabilities and learning difficulties across the North East.
Lee said, “I’m really looking forward to taking part in my first Great North Run. I watch it every year on the television and the atmosphere looks amazing so I can’t wait to experience it myself. I think it’s something that every Geordie has to do at some point in their life.
“I’m very grateful to Lee, Ollie, Hannah and Paul for volunteering to push me around the course and I promise to lay off the chocolate buttons until after the race! Most of all, I’m looking forward to raising lots of money for Smile For Life, a brilliant charity that I’m proud to be a patron of.”
Emmerdale actresses Laura Norton and Isabel Hodgins are running for CureUSHER. The charity supports people diagnosed with Usher syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes hearing and sight loss. Laura became a patron of the charity after both of her children were diagnosed with Usher syndrome.
They will be joined by BBC presenter OJ Borg, new DS Chris Oliver from Channel 4’s SAS who dare’s wins, former boxer Rendall Munroe running for the Bodhi Hodges Foundation and former Sunderland AFC striker Kevin Phillips who is supporting North East heart charity, the Red Sky Foundation.
Kevin said: “I’m so excited for my first ever Great North Run. I’ll be doing the run with my good friend Wess Brown who’s youngest son Sol has had three open heart surgeries at the Freeman Hospital.
“It’s our way of giving something back so Red Sky Foundation can help other families needing their support. We recognise the hard work the charity does to make a difference to the lives of so many people within the region’s cardiac wards in hospitals and also in local communities across Sunderland and the wider North East.”
The AJ Bell Great North Run starts in Newcastle city centre and finishes 13.1 miles later in the coastal town of South Shields. The event is the world’s biggest half marathon, with many runners taking part to support worthy causes, raising an estimated £25 million pounds for charity.
The event will be shown Live on BBC One from 10am until 2pm.
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