Blisters, sweat and aching limbs: the Great North Run is on the horizon. Supporters up and down the country have been putting in the training miles.
But what motivates people to sweat their socks off in aid of the British Red Cross? Here are four runners’ stories.
“I witnessed a horrific accident”
Last year Demelza, 34, saw something that made her sign up for her first marathon.
Her friend’s husband was involved in a horrific motorbike accident.
“As fate would have it, the accident happened outside a pub where 30 off-duty British Red Cross nurses were enjoying a drink – so they were first on the scene with him. They’d just completed their refresher emergency aid course,” said Demelza.
“He had shattered the whole of his right side, so it must have been a pretty horrific thing to deal with. Their actions probably saved his life and stopped him losing his legs.”
Demelza decided to sign up to run for the charity. She loved the whole experience.
“When you join Team Red Cross, you know you’re going the extra mile for people in need, all over the world. And they’ll cheer you on, and give you lots of tips and advice. Everybody I’ve spoken to with questions has been really helpful and supportive.”
Teacher, runner, dog saver – read Demelza’s full story
“Putting things in perspective – and helping others”
Chief executive Mike Adamson goes running every weekend.
“Lorna (my wife) and I are both members of a running club around the hills and valleys of Gloucestershire.
“We are surrounded by fields and hills, so I hardly ever run on the road. I love the sense of freedom – it helps keep things in perspective. “
On 13 September Mike will be joining our fantastic supporters taking part in the Great North Run – and this event holds a special place in his heart.
Mike said: “I love running in big events so it will be fantastic to be part of the action in Newcastle. It’s where I went to school and my mum still lives there.
“I think it is important that everyone in the Red Cross has a go at fundraising at some point in the year – the CEO is no exception.”
Sponsor Mike and show your support for the British Red Cross
“Losing weight – and a tribute to my parents”
“I’ve always battled with my weight,” said Liz.
“For many years, I had quite an addictive relationship with food.
“But losing both my beloved parents a few years ago was a real wake-up call.
“It made me question what my life priorities were, and I resolved to finally do something that would have made them both proud: get fit.”
Liz joined a gym, got a personal trainer and decided to take on the River Ness 10k Challenge.
“The location was perfect: my parents absolutely loved the place and I had many fond family memories there. I decided to do the run in their memory.”
Liz also decided to use her run to raise money for the Red Cross.
“I’ve been taken aback by the amazing work the Red Cross does to help people at their very lowest ebb. Being able to use my own experience to champion this fantastic organisation is the best result I could have hoped for.”
Raising and losing pounds – read Liz’s full story
“In memory of my grandmother’s epic Second World War journey”
Viviane (and her feet) took on an epic task – running from Poland to Spain, inspired by her grandmother.
Viviane’s grandmother, Ilse, was just 19 years old when she fled her home in Germany at the end of the Second World War. Not knowing whether her family had survived the Russian invasion, she escaped by plane – but the plane crashed.
Ilse woke up at a Red Cross shelter before continuing her journey to western Germany.
Ilse signed in at every Red Cross first aid station she found along the way, in case her family were alive and trying to find her. Each station gave her first aid for terrible blood blisters on her feet.
“She was determined to survive and the Red Cross helped her to do so,” says Viviane.
It took 14 years for Ilse to be reunited with her family.
Viviane ran to raise funds in memory of her grandmother – but also for those enduring similar experiences today.
“I can’t even imagine what it must be like to lose your home and family”, said Viviane.
“I dedicate this journey and challenge to refugees worldwide. Everyone deserves to have a place they can call home.”
Following in the footsteps of my refugee grandmother’ – read Viviane’s full story