Fundraiser Lee Davison will be under added pressure when he takes to the region’s streets with thousands of other Great North Runners this weekend.
The 28-year-old will be laden down with a full American football kit as he works his way round the 13.1-mile route from Newcastle to South Shields this Sunday.
It is all in a bid to raise as much money as possible for his chosen charity, St Oswald’s Hospice.
Lee decided to mix his hobby of playing American football – for local team Northumberland Lightning – with his passion for fundraising to make the challenge of completing the Bupa Great North Run even greater.
He said: “I joined American Football team Northumberland Lightning about nine months ago and we jokingly mentioned how hard it would be to complete the Great North Run in our kit and it just kind of stuck with me.
“I’ve done the Great North Run three times before, but this year I really wanted to push myself harder, to try and set myself a challenge and I thought this would be something I’d need to work for.
“It’s going to be a long day in the kit; it’s not particularly light or comfortable so I’m not in for an easy ride.”
As well as testing his stamina, there’s also a more personal motive behind his decision to take part in the half marathon while raising money for Gosforth-based St Oswald’s.
In 1994, Lee, of Fenham, Newcastle, lost his mother, Elaine, to breast cancer and he is eternally grateful for the care and support she received from staff at the hospice before she passed away. Lee said: “I chose to run for St Oswald’s because my mother received care at the hospice when she was suffering with terminal breast cancer.
“She even got married during her stay so I remember going there on a regular basis. My relatives have always had positive things to say about the hospice as I’ve grown up.”
In preparation for the run this coming Sunday, Lee has been training with his Northumberland Lightning team mates at regular practices, followed by gym work and extra running sessions to build up to the challenge.
Emma Noble, fundraiser at St Oswald’s, said: “We’re very excited to be cheering Lee on for the fourth time this year.
“We rely on the support of our local community so that we can continue to care for North East people like Lee’s mum.
“If you would like to register your interest about running for us next year, please call me on 0191 246 9123.”