Have you been diagnosed with a brain tumour? Order your free information pack.

To our 2023 Great North Run Team – thank you!

On September 10th, our team of 140 runners took on the Great North Run for The Brain Tumour Charity. In this post, runners and Charity team members share their thoughts on a memorable day.

Supporters from The Brain Tumour Charity at the Great North Run

The World’s Biggest Half Marathon

The North East’s now world-famous half marathon celebrated 42 years since its first ever edition this year.  Back in 1981, just over 12,000 people took to the start line. Nowadays 60,000 lace up their trainers each year for the Great North Run – the city to coast route from Newcastle to South Shields.  With thousands of locals lining every inch of the route, the race has become an integral part of North East culture – and one of the most iconic half marathons in the world.  Mingling with the likes of Mo Farah (who chose the event to run his last ever competitive race this year) are very many participants running for charity, vital funds for good causes every year.

A marathon runner takes on the Great North Run
A runner taking on The Great North Run
A group of supporters at the Great North Run

Meet some of our team for The Great North Run!

Our Great North Run team has raised an incredible £116,000 for the Charity so far!  Two of our fantastic runners share their motivation to take part.

Yvonne’s Story

“Seeing what my friends go through in life on a daily basis actually breaks my heart, and I pray that we can find better treatments that can give better outcomes in the future. This is why I needed to do the Great North Run. I’m just so glad that I got the opportunity to run for you.”


Yvonne Hall, from Stockton, does not enjoy running.  At all.  She even came last in the egg and spoon race at school.  But she was determined to take on the Great North Run in support of her good friend Angus, who was diagnosed with a glioblastoma four years ago.  After multiple surgeries, Angus’ tumour has returned. 

“Angus is a gentle giant, who is super strong, funny, caring, and no matter what’s thrown at him, he just gets on with things.  I’m amazed by his courage and proud to call him my friend.

“Angus is currently receiving oral chemo, and steroid treatment. His tumour is stable and hasn’t grown any more since sept last year, but we do see the differences in him and how it’s affecting his daily life. 

“I told him just before his surgery that I would run the great north run, to raise money for the brain tumour charity as it means so much to us all. Now I’m not athletic and hate running, so this was definitely a challenge for me. I didn’t run it alone, Angus’s wife ran it with me. 

“Running the great north run, was life changing for me, and it’s given me a sense of accomplishment, as well pushing me to be a fitter healthier me. Running for The Brain Tumour Charity was the added bonus, as I could feel a sense of pride in the fact that I managed to raise over £600 and together with Hannah we raised just over £1200.” 

Alex’s Story

A couple take a selfie while training for The Great North Run

Alex Dawson, from North Yorkshire, took on the run with wife Sarah.

Alex was diagnosed with a grade three cancerous brain tumour in 2020 that was deemed terminal after his awake brain surgery the same year.  
After undergoing one year of chemotherapy and 12 rounds of radiotherapy, his aim was to raise awareness of the disease, as well as vital funds.

In advance of the run, Alex said: “I’m nervous but I am really looking forward to taking part for such an important cause, I’m doing the run with my wife, Sarah who in our practice runs has been much faster, which she continuously reminds me of.   

“Since my diagnosis I have added an extra 25kg mostly to my gut so it’s been tough to get running but I’m determined to get over the finish line!” 

Alex’s Great North Run was just part of a huge fundraising challenge he embarked on in the wake of his diagnosis.

He has raised a staggering £26,000 so far, and aims to raise £88,975 within the next seven years – for the 88,975 who are diagnosed with a brain tumour every year.

Our Charity Team for The Great North Run!

For Sophie Crossman, Events Officer, and Lily Finlay, Community Fundraiser, this was the first big event they had attended for the Charity. 

“Attending the Great North Run was one of the most inspiring experiences! I had numerous supporters from my region running and it was amazing to see them pushing themselves in aid of the charity and to congratulate them in our charity tent at the end. There was definitely a buzz in the air; it was quite emotional but it actually made me want to run it next year seeing how proud they were afterwards”.

Lily (on left in photo)

And Sophie summed things up with her verdict:

“We had a charity cheer point on the final mile of the route where we gave everyone a big whoop and cheer as they passed by, this was gratefully received to give the runners that last bit of enthusiasm and encouragement to get them over the finish line.

And our event marquee where we provided hot drinks & snacks was popular with our runners and their families post event.

The weather started out beautifully (the hottest GNR to date), but took a turn for the worse when lightning storms & flash flooding hit later in the afternoon. We have huge respect for everyone who took part through this challenging weather, from the incredible heat to the torrential rain!

A group of women cheer at the Great North Run

This was my first event since joining the Charity as events officer in June and It was such a pleasure to be given the opportunity to lead on such an iconic event and have the opportunity to steward such an incredible group of fundraisers, I am so incredibly grateful and proud of each and every one of them!”

Get involved

Inspired? You can get involved in the fun, even if running’s not your thing. Find your own challenge by clicking the button below!