A WOMAN who has taken part in every Great North Run is to commit her experiences to paper – and is looking for other people’s tales of the event too.
Anne Wilson has become a recognisable figure on the run, completing every event since its inception in 1981 with her husband Ernie, with the couple dressing as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
After meeting Great North Run founder Brendan Foster, Anne is now set to write a book chronicling the event’s 30-year history - and she wants to hear from people who have taken part.
Rather than focusing on the achievements of world class athletes who have stormed to victory in the race, Anne is planning on telling the stories of club athletes, fun runners, fundraisers and those who work tirelessly behind the scenes.
Anne, from Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, said: “Because I am one of only about half a dozen women to have taken part in every run so occasionally I get a call from Nova, the run organisers, when they have a special event coming up.
“I had been asked to write a small piece for this year’s magazine on my memories and when I got talking to the girl who was organising it all I said ‘I could probably write a book’. She then suggested I should.
“Shortly after that I was at a meeting with Brendan Foster and I asked if I would need any special permission to write a book and he gave me the go ahead.”
Anne, a retired headteacher of Monkseaton High School, wants to hear from anyone who has a special story to tell about what the run means to them.
The 63-year-old said: “I was never a runner but there is something about the Great North Run which is compelling. I took part in the first year after watching TV and Mike Neville was interviewing Brendan Foster about a new race they were going to set up.
“I had never done any running in my life other than for a bus but I just thought straight away that it was something I would like to be involved in.
“For the past 10 years we have done it in fancy dress and collect money on the way. There are some people who always hang onto their donation until they see Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
“The crowd are what make the event so special and apart from runners I would also like to hear from people who line the route each year or act as a volunteer.”
Anyone with a story can contact Anne on firstname.lastname@example.org.