A regional daily sports journalist who was diagnosed with arthritis five years ago is embarking on the final stretch of a year-long challenge with two half-marathons inside three weeks.
Northern Echo sports reporter Richard Mason set himself the goal of running more than 60 miles in 2013 to raise money for the Finlay Cooper Fund and Alzheimer’s Society in memory of his grandmother.
The 30-year-old, who completed the Sabic Tees Pride 10k in Middlesborough on Sunday, will take part in the Great North Run on 15 September before ending his challenge by running the Redcar Half Marathon two weeks later.
The father-of-one has already completed the Half Marathon of the North in April, the Tees Barrage 10k in May, the 5k Riverside Run in June and last month’s Darlington 10k, and admits his final challenge of the year may be a step too far.
“Everyone I’ve spoken to thinks I’m mad,” said Richard, who was told to avoid high-impact sports after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2008.
“The first few events were fine, but the training for these events has been intense and I’ve got to say that I’m feeling the effects now.
“I originally set myself the target of finishing both half marathons in under two hours but I’m probably going to have to settle for just completing them. It’s for charity and that’s the only thing that’s motivating me.”
The Finlay Cooper Fund was set up by former Middlesbrough footballer Colin Cooper and his wife Julie after their son died in 2002 after a choking accident.
The Hartlepool United manager, who is running the Great North Run himself, said: “Fair play to him, two half-marathons and a 10k in a short space of time – fair play to him, fair play,” said Colin.
“And it’s humbling that people, like Richard and the other runners doing it for the Fund, are doing it for us.”
South Shields-born Richard, who was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hip in 2008 after suffering from mobility problems as a child, will be wearing the colours of both charities in this Sunday’s Great North Run.
To support Richard’s fundraising efforts visit his donation page.