On their marks for Great North Run

Rob Woods, who is taking part in the Great North Run in aid of the British Heart Foundation, and his daughter Lola.
Rob Woods, who is taking part in the Great North Run in aid of the British Heart Foundation, and his daughter Lola.

Runners from around North Tyneside are on their marks for the world’s biggest half marathon.

Young and old are making the final preparations for the Great North Run, which takes place on Sunday.

Beth Iveson, with her son Alfie, who is taking part in the Great North Run in aid of St Oswald's Hospice.

Beth Iveson, with her son Alfie, who is taking part in the Great North Run in aid of St Oswald's Hospice.

And a number of them will be completing the 13.1-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields in aid of a charity close to their heart.

Tynemouth resident Rob Woods is running for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) after suffering a cardiac arrest whilst on a static bike.

In November 2010, Rob took the place of a friend to enter a mile sprint cycling competition on static bikes in central London. With famous cyclist Bradley Wiggins seated two bikes to his left, Rob’s heart stopped just one minute into the competition.

Two other competitors noticed what had happened and administered CPR on Rob until the paramedics arrived. Rob was then put in a drug induced coma for two weeks.

Doctors still do not know why Rob suffered a cardiac arrest, but he was fitted with an internal defibrillator called an ICD, which can shock his heart back into a stable rhythm.

Rob said: “My first memory of what happened was waking up in hospital with no idea about how I got there or why I was there. I remember looking at the shirtless man in the bed opposite who had a scar running from his neck to his navel and, in panic, pulling up my shirt to check if that had happened to me.

“The recovery has been difficult and I know I’ll never be back to where I was before. Speaking is still difficult and my memory is still poor, but accepting this was the first step in moving forwards.”

To sponsor Rob, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/robwoods2018

North Shields-born Ryan Molloy, who shot to fame as the original Frankie Valli in the West End musical, is returning for the second time, running in aid of the Graham Wylie Foundation.

“I’m really excited to be running again and raising awareness for my charity with all my fellow Geordies at the Great North Run 2018,” he said.

He will be joined by Kaiser Chiefs musician Nick Baines and Viz creator Simon Donald in running for the charity.

Elsewhere, Beth Iveson, 28, from Houghton-le-Spring, will do the run with seven of her closest friends in aid of Gosforth-based St Oswald’s Hospice as a way to give back to the support she and her son Alfie received after the death of Alfie’s dad last year. Alfie’s dad Richard, 33, from Blyth, died in June 2017 after a year long battle with Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

After being referred to St Oswald’s for pre and post Bereavement support, Alfie now visits the Hospice regularly for a ‘safe place’ to talk about his feelings.

Beth said: “I honestly don’t know why I picked the Great North Run, I can’t run at all but I suppose that’s the challenge.”