Sir Bobby Robson's son to tackle Great North Run

RUNNERS taking on the Great North Run for Sir Bobby Robson got together last night ahead of their half marathon challenge.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Reception for 2011 Great North Run runners - pictured are Lady Elsie Robson with her two sons Mark, left, and Paul.

RUNNERS taking on the Great North Run for Sir Bobby Robson got together last night ahead of their half marathon challenge.

Those running for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at this weekend’s 13.1m race were invited to a special event at Newcastle’s Copthorne Hotel last night.

Fundraisers shared their stories of training and swapped tips on how they were preparing in the final countdown to the run on Sunday.

Sir Bobby’s wife Lady Elsie Robson greeted those taking part on behalf of her husband’s charity and Run Geordie Run star Mark Allison gave the gathered competitors some words of wisdom for their preparations.

One of the runners with a very personal reason to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is Sir Bobby’s youngest son, Mark.

This is the third year Mark and his partner Kim Jennings have tackled the Great North Run in aid of the charity and meeting other fundraisers ahead of the big day was a very positive experience for him. He said: “My family and I are very grateful to everyone who is undertaking the Great North Run in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and it was a pleasure to meet just some of the runners.

“No doubt there will be some very accomplished athletes raising funds for us but for some people the 13 miles will be a huge personal challenge.

“It means a great deal to us that they are taking on that challenge to raise money for Dad’s charity.

“In many cases I expect, like me, they have their own personal reasons for wanting to support a cancer charity.”

Sir Bobby Robson launched his charity in March 2008. He described it as his last and greatest team and was very proud of its achievements.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation helps the experts find more effective ways to treat and diagnose cancer.

It funds projects which directly benefit cancer patients including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

One of the runners at the event was Rebecca Thompson, of Stanley in County Durham.

The 26-year-old staff nurse at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle, said she wanted to run for the Foundation because she held Sir Bobby Robson in very high regard.

“I am getting a bit nervous, it is easier in the gym than on the roads,” she said.

Kevin Clarke, of Washington, also had a personal reason to get involved in fundraising.

“I lost my cousin to cancer recently so I wanted to run it in his memory,” said the 39-year-old.

“I have done it before so I am feeling ok at the moment,” he added.

The runners were inspired by the presence of Mark Allison who recently raised more than £100,000 for the Children’s Foundation and St Benedict’s Hospice by running across America in just 100 days.

He spoke to the competitors to help motivate them in their final training and gave useful advice about the physical and mental aspects of running long distances.

The father-of-one said: “It was a huge honour to be asked to talk to the Great North Runners raising funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It was a pleasure to chat with them and to draw upon my recent experiences running 3,100 miles across the USA.

“I hope I have helped inspire them as they take on their own running challenge on Sunday.”

Since its launch, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.5million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

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