MIKE Moran completed the Great North Run in memory of a friend - Geoff Yates - who tragically died aged just 58.
They were friends in Pendle in the 1970s, working for Nelson Council before Pendle Council took over in 1974. Geoff carried on with Pendle Council until his death last December but for decades Mike has lived in Wales. Since 1976 he has worked for Monmouth Borough and Monmouthshire County Council in South Wales.
He was determined to do the run and raise cash for charity in memory of Geoff - and he did it.
He said: “All went well – a great atmosphere with high fives from Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds and Greg Rutherford at the beginning in Newcastle and the Red Arrows performing aerobatic miracles at the beginning and the end of the race in South Shields.
“To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with my time - I originally hoped for a time of just under two hours, but I ended up with a time of just under two hours ten minutes! My wife and two youngest children were there to cheer me on in the finishing straight – a straight mile along the sea front in South Shields – as well as Edwina, Geoff’s wife, and their two sons Neil and Mark and their respective girlfriends.
“It was absolutely great they had made the journey up from Lancashire and stayed overnight to come and watch me at the finish.”
Mike added: “When I crossed the finish line it was a very emotional moment for me trying to keep things together but I managed to do it – just!
“In the end, we have raised just over £1,100 (including Gift Aid) for the Cardiomyopathy Association in Geoff’s memory, and although it was a very emotional day, there was also quite a lot of humour, with some runners dressed in a variety of costumes. I had the distinction of being beaten to the finishing line by two carrots!”
And he said: “As we left Newcastle by coach transfer to pick up the car in Durham where we were staying, a rainbow appeared over the countryside which was quite a poignant moment for me – perhaps a sign of approval or appreciation from Geoff looking down from above - who knows!
“I am extremely grateful to everyone who sponsored me – however large or small their contribution – and if anyone else wishes to contribute my sponsorship page is still open where people can make a donation to this very worthwhile cause. The link is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeMoran1