TWO family members completed the ‘Great North Run’ at opposite ends of the country to raise money for a North-East charity that cared for their niece.

David Gamble, from Sunderland, and his sister-in-law, Claire Tallack-Gamble, who lives in Lee-on-Solent, in Hampshire, ran the virtual half marathon on Sunday to raise money for the North East Autism Society, which cared for Emma Stephenson until her death, aged 33, in April.

It was David’s debut in the race, and the first time he’s run a distance of more than five miles.

“I used to go out cycling, but with three young boys, and working full-time, it just became more difficult,” he said. “I’ve only been running a couple of years, for fitness, but I’d never run as much as 13 miles at once.

“Claire is much more of a runner, and is also planning to run the Virtual London Marathon to raise money for NEAS.”

David pre-planned his route, which finished at Witherwack Cemetery, in Sunderland – Emma’s place of rest.

He was supported along the route by his brother, Les, and Emma’s dad, Brian, who rode their bikes behind him as he ran.

“It was better than running on my own,” he confessed, “especially for the last couple of miles when it became harder.”

His two older boys, Henry, six, and Isaac, three, ran the last few yards with him across the finish line, where he was met by family members and representatives of NEAS.

“It was a great experience,” he said, “and I would be tempted to run the Great North Run in the future. The app was very clever and continually gave me my position in the race.”

David connected to the ‘GNR 2020’ app on the day, to receive instructions, milestones, and encouragement along his route. It even provided the noise of cheers from the crowd as he approached his finish line.

Around 20,000 runners took part on Sunday, split into two groups. David recorded a time of one hour and fifty minutes, and was placed 590th in his group.

David and Claire, pictured below, have raised nearly £2,000 so far through their Go Fund Me page, and are leaving it open for anyone who wants to sponsor Claire in the Virtual London Marathon.

  • NEAS is urging anyone who missed out on this year’s virtual Great North Run events series, to sign up to take part in a run event during the Kielder Marathon Weekend, 2nd-4th October. Events include a virtual marathon, half marathon, 10K, and Run Like a Legend Mile (available for participants aged seven and over). For more information on how to get involved www.ne-as.org.uk/Event/virtual-kielder-marathon
  • To make a donation go to: uk.gofundme.com and search for David Gamble.