Friday, 11 March 2022

Team Run Geordie Run continues to inspire

Since the creation of "Team Run Geordie Run" in 2010 a staggering £50,000 has been raised for local good causes such as St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410). The team was set up to use the power of the Run Geordie Run brand to attract others to raise funds for a charity that they have no direct connection to and probably wouldn't otherwise have done so. To say that it has reaped rewards for local good causes is an understatement. The primary event that the team participate in is the Great North Run.

The size of the team has varied over the years from four of us in 2010 to twenty in 2018 and various numbers in between. While the intention is to use the inspiration of my around the world run to attract runners to the team, what I've found is that the team members always bring a good dose of inspiration themselves. Everyone has their own reasons for joining the team. The deeply touching stories that these people share have, time and time again, been quite something to hear about.

One of the team, who will be running this years Great North Run, in aid of St Benedict's Hospice is called Noel. He had never ran before and won't mind me telling you that he has gained a lot of weight in recent years. Noel has a young family and you can see from the photo below (taken last summer) that he is a doting dad.

Noel was at a children's Halloween party last October when the penny dropped that he simply had to do something about his weight. It was around the same time that I first advertised Team Run Geordie Run's Great North Run 2022 places. Noel didn't hesitate to enquire about joining the team and he set about getting fit with only a few minor pointers from me. 

I know only too well that you can receive all of the great advice in the world and fail. If you don't apply that advice and add the required amount of discipline and enthusiasm then you won't reach your intended goal. It took very little in terms of motivation to get Noel started and what was to follow over the next 4 months (and he's still going) was nothing short of remarkable and inspirational.

Noel's waist size was 42/44 and he weighed 18 stone 4 pounds (116 kg) before he started on his fitness journey. He wore XXL sized clothes. 

Noel spent the first few weeks in a local gym doing only light cardio and some weights 3 - 5 times per week. Noel used MyFitnessPal to track the amount of calories he was consuming. This helped to ensure that he was always in a slight calorie deficit while having enough energy to exercise. Once he'd gained some fitness and lost a little bit of weight, then it was time to see how he got on with running. Running 1 - 3 miles, Noel was managing to run each mile in 13 minutes. That soon dropped to 12 minutes and then down to 11 minutes per mile. By mid December with the improved fitness and weight loss he was ready to try a 10k run. The running hadn't been easy up to this point and Noel admitted that he was starting to enjoy it having hated it at first.

After only 2 months of eating well and exercising regularly, Noel saw the number 15 on the scales for the first time on December 30th 2021. At 15 stones and 13 pounds (101 kg) Noel also noticed that he was a waist size down and was wearing XL or even L clothing. 

The effort didn't stop there and Noel's weight was down to 14 stone 13 pounds on Jan 31st 2022. I've just been speaking to him and he's pleased to report that today he's feeling fitter and healthier than ever weighing in at an amazing 14 stone 3 pounds (90 kg). He's also down to size L or M clothing and a 34 inch waist.

The approach, effort, discipline and dedication shown by Noel has been so inspiring to see. He looks like a new man which is not surprising given that he's lost just over 4 stone in weight and is exercising regularly. All that, with the Great North Run still 6 months away.

This inspirational story does not end there. As well as the personal benefit to his family (chasing round after the bairn must be a lot easier these days) Noel has a quite remarkable reason for becoming a leaner, fitter and healthier man. This story is about to take a profound twist.

Noel's mother in law only has one kidney. Not only that but it is in renal failure meaning she requires dialysis 3 days per week just to keep her alive. 

While Noel is not a direct match to donate one of his kidneys, he has signed up to the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme. This means that "Under the scheme, when someone in need of a kidney has a willing donor but they are incompatible, it may be possible for them to be "matched" with another couple in a similar situation and for the donor kidneys to be 'exchanged'".

Given Noel's weight back in November, being part of the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme would not have been possible. Fast forward, five months and it is not just a possibility but Noel has recently undergone tests. Unsurprisingly, his weight is now under where it needs to be. He is waiting on an operation to donate a kidney which is likely to be in July. 

All of a sudden, the word "inspirational" seems nowhere near enough. I'm sure you'll join me in wishing Noel and especially his mother in law all the best for a successful outcome.

Back to what seems like far more trivial matters and if you'd like to sign up to join Team Run Geordie Run by doing this year's Great North Run then please read on.

The cost of signing up to Team Run Geordie Run is £58 for those who have never been on the team before or £29 for those that have. There is a commitment to raise £300 for St. Benedict's Hospice. 

Team Run Geordie Run members will receive: 
  • Entry to the 2022 Great North Run. Exclusive Team Run Geordie Run t-shirt (or vest if you prefer). Additional t-shirts/vests are available to purchase. 
  • Access to the St. Benedict's Hospice hospitality marquee in the charity village near the finish line. This is where you can enjoy refreshments and meet up with family and friends. Exclusive Team Run Geordie Run goodie bag* at St. Benedict's Hospice hospitality marquee. * Alcohol content only available to those entrants 18 or over. 
  • Half price entry to the 2023 Great North Run as part of Team Run Geordie Run. 
If you'd like to do the Great North Run in 2022 in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice then please complete the form below to register your interest.