Whaplode St Catherine runner’s northern soul for needy children

Diane Morris in training for September's Great North Run with son Daniel.  Photo by Rob Morris.
Diane Morris in training for September's Great North Run with son Daniel. Photo by Rob Morris.
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A carer from Whaplode St Catherine has used an international charity’s ongoing work to save children’s lives as motivation for the world’s greatest half-marathon.

Mother and grandmother Diane Morris will line up with an estimated 57,000 runners at the start line for the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday, September 10.

It hit home that there are children in the world who are without food and water

Diane Morris, of Whaplode St Catherine

Just two days after three-time Great North Run winner Sir Mo Farah came first in the 3,000m at the Anniversary Games in London, Diane is hoping to finish the 13.1-mile course from Newcastle to South Shields in under two hours.

Diane said: “I’ve tended to fundraise for children’s charities in the past and I actually started running eight years ago when one of my sons was at a playgroup where the mums decided to do a sponsored half-marathon.

“It was the Great Eastern Run (in Peterborough) and from then I was hooked.

“The following year, I did another half-marathon and then a full marathon in Nottingham just because I enjoyed it.

“But I’ve never done the Great North Run and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do just to experience the crowds.”

Diane’s choice of charity came after watching a presentation on famine relief by youngsters from the Boys and Girls’ Brigades at Spalding Baptist Church.

“It hit home that there are children in the world who are without food and water,” Diane said.

“A lot of the work that Save the Children does is in Third World countries and as the Great North Run fitted in with me running a lot more this year, I want to raise as much money as possible for the charity.”

Diane can count on support from her clubmates at Halmer Harriers Running Club with whom she runs twice a week.

She said: “Halmer Harriers is such a good club to run at, whatever your ability, and the support there is incredible.

“Running was about fitness at first and then I thought ‘how far can I push myself?’

“That’s why I started doing ultramarathons (any marathon longer than the traditional 26.2-mile distance).”

Just like the London Marathon, which Diane ran last year, the Great North Run will feature celebrities like physicist Professor Brian Cox, TV presenter Davina McCall and Casualty/Holby City star Amanda Mealing.

Diane said: “It’s a big deal because it’s such a big race so I’ll be nervous beforehand.”

To sponsor Diane, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/DianeMorris50

• Are you doing the Great North Run on September 10? Email winston.brown@iliffepublishing.co.uk