Two runners are celebrating raising money for their chosen charities after taking part in the Great North Run.
Paul Barker ,a resident of Flore, ran the Great North Run in aid of Make-A-Wish UK, the charity that grants wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening conditions.
This was Paul’s first ever attempt at any kind of endurance event, and he completed the Great North Run in a time of 01:58:04.
Paul, aged 36, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be able to say that I managed to complete the Great North Run. I’d trained pretty hard in the months leading up to it so when I managed to come home inside my target of two hours I was absolutely gobsmacked.
“The weather for the run was just so hot, and a lot of the seasoned veterans were saying in the build up to the race that it wasn’t the weather to be setting personal bests or pushing for times in, but I knew I’d trained hard and I had faith in my plan for the race, so I just stuck to my plan, kept to my own pace and it all came good on the day.
“I also hit myself another more quirky target as we were waiting to get going, and that was to complete the race within an hour of the time set by Mo Farah. I actually had no idea what that would be, but I checked the times after the race and I found out I managed to do it by just under a minute.
“So, the targets I set myself for the race itself have both been hit, but that leaves me just one target that I haven’t hit yet is my fundraising target of £500. I’m currently just over £100 away from hitting that target too, but this one is out of my hands. Everyone has been so great with all their support for me in preparing for this, but I need just one last push from you all to help get me over the finish line on this one too.
“I’ve gone from 24 stone to a sub two hour half marathon, come on guys please don’t let this be the first target I can’t hit!”
To support Paul please visit his JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/paulbarkergnr15.
Also taking part in the event was Elaine Kristan, Adoption UK’s human resources manager who lives in Daventry.
She was delighted to complete the run in two hours and 11 minutes, shaving 10 minutes off her previous time at last year’s event.
Elaine described the atmosphere at the Great North Run as something that “everyone should experience at least once”.
She said: “In the lead up to the race it’s an emotional rollercoaster – one day it was fear then the next day I just couldn’t stop grinning.
“The actual day was amazing though and I loved every step of it because the atmosphere is so fabulous and you just get carried away with it. Thousands of people line the streets, you’ve got kids high-fiving you and spraying you with water bottles, cheering and clapping you on as you run passed... and then there was the flyover by the Red Arrows – they make me cry every time!”
Elaine and her friends celebrated completing the run with a tipple in a beer tent for competitors where they spoke to a soon-to-be octogenarian, who had just crossed the finish line.
Elaine said: “My friends and I were so inspired by her we all vowed to carry on running until we’re 80 as well!”
But first Elaine has to concentrate on the ‘small’ task of the Oxford Half Marathon on Sunday October 11.
The 39 year-old said: “My legs are very stiff today so stairs are not my friend and if I drop anything it has to stay on the floor. It didn’t help that the car journey home on Monday took about five hours. I just sat on the sofa when I got home.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Elaine in the Oxford Half Marathon can do so by visiting her Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/Elaine-Kristan2/.