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Meet our Great North Run #TeamMDUK runners

9 September 2023

This Sunday 10 September 2023, around 100 runners will be representing us, wearing our orange vest and taking on the Great North Run in support of people living with muscle wasting conditions. Ahead of the big day, we caught up with some of the team to find out why they’re taking on the challenge and what they’re looking forward to most.

Running for Andrew 

Graham recently decided to get back into running after a long break and last year completed a 10k event. Now, he’s signed up for the Great North Run – a half marathon, in memory of his younger brother Andrew, who lived with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.  

He explains, “Having witnessed my brother Andrew’s struggles with muscular dystrophy, I have seen first-hand just how essential the support from Muscular Dystrophy UK is for people living with muscle-wasting conditions and their families. I know how crucial the ongoing research is for helping to find a cure and to stop the gene being passed down through generations. For this reason, I wanted to run for the charity and generate funds and awareness to help in some small way.” 

Andrew sadly passed away aged 21 in June 1994, just two weeks before Graham’s wedding, where he was to be the best man.  

For Graham, training has been going well, despite a few injury setbacks. He says, “The early morning runs have been therapeutic in some strange way.” 

“I’m wishing my fellow runners a safe and fulfilling run at the Great North Run. Let’s go and conquer it together!” 

From a few unsteady walks to the Great North Run   

Growing up with Becker muscular dystrophy, Michael thought he wouldn’t be able to run long distances. As his condition progressed, he became less mobile and started using a powered wheelchair.  

He explains, “As I got older, I did less and less physical activity. I gained lots of weight; by the time I was 34, I weighed over 21 stone, and I was struggling to walk more than a few hundred metres.”   

His consultant encouraged him to lose weight and avoid using his wheelchair for short distances. After making some progress, a friend suggested he try the Couch to 5k training programme.  

Michael reflects, “With some encouragement, eventually I gave in and tried the first week of the programme. It hurt so much, and I was so tired, but I later felt amazing. I was so proud that I was able to run, after being told for years, I couldn’t do this.” 

Last year, Micheal completed the London Marathon for #TeamMDUK, raising £853 in the process.  

He’s inspired many people, including his friends David, Ian, Robert and Jerrica, who are joining him this weekend to take on the Great North Run.  

Together every step of the way 

Michael’s running mate David says, 

“From a few unsteady walks all the way to the London marathon – Mike’s journey has been astounding to everyone who knows him. Talking to him about Muscular Dystrophy UK, it became clear what a difference it’s made to him over his life.” 

Ian, another member of the team, adds, “Michael is an inspirational character. He rarely talks about his muscular dystrophy and never uses it as an excuse when he’s struggling with his running. So, when he asked me if I’d like to run the Great North Run with him on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy UK I accepted without hesitation. I plan to run with him all the way, step by step.”  

Katherine is determined to get across the finish line 

Katherine, who lives with generalised Myasthenia gravis, is taking on the Great North Run for people living with muscle wasting conditions. She says, 

“I hope that by taking on this challenge, I will not only raise awareness about these conditions but also generate funds to support much-needed research into new treatments and ultimately a cure.” 

Living with Myasthenia gravis has had a huge impact on Katherine’s life, both physically and mentally. She suffers from chronic fatigue, muscular aches, and double vision, and has found it hard to adjust to managing the condition and being less active.  

“For the first time since 2016, I am feeling physically strong enough to take part in a half marathon. I’ve had to pull out of other events in the last few years when my body simply wasn’t able to do it and my condition was flaring up.” 

She tells us she’s looking forward to running the Great North Run course, soaking up the fun and lively atmosphere, being part of the Muscular Dystrophy UK community, and crossing the finish line.  

“My biggest fear is experiencing a relapse and not being able to complete the course. But with time and careful training, I am hoping this won’t be the case. I am the healthiest I have been since my diagnosis and my training is going slowly but surely, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I’m determined to get across the finish line!” 

A big thank you from us to our #TeamMDUK runners  

We’re really grateful to all of our fantastic runners for choosing to take on this feat for Muscular Dystrophy UK. We wish you all the very best of luck and we’ll be supporting you every step of the way.  

If you have been inspired by our Great North Runners, why not challenge yourself to go the distance for MDUK and sign up for an event today

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