THOUSANDS of runners are gearing up to hit the streets tomorrow for the Great North Run (GNR).
Biggest Loser Kevin McLernon will be one of them when he marks the anniversary of his weight-loss journey by taking part in the half-marathon.
This weekend will mark exactly a year since Kevin, along with niece Amy McLernon, entered the ITV Biggest Loser house, in a bid to shed the weight.
Through hard work and determination Kevin, from Seaburn, dropped from 32st 2lb to 19st 4lb to clinch the Biggest Loser title.
Now, the 39-year-old, who has continued to shed the pounds and is studying to be a fitness instructor, is about to fulfil his ambition of taking part in the iconic run.
He said: “When I was in the Biggest Loser house, one of the things I said I wanted to do was to race in the GNR next year, I can’t quite believe I am actually going to be doing it.
“They have given me the number 1973, which is the year I was born. I am hoping to do it in around two hours and 24 minutes. If I do it under three hours I will be pleased with that.”
Once again Kevin will team up with 24-year-old Amy, who also shed an amazing amount of weight to take second place on the Biggest Loser, for the run.
The pair will also be joined by some of the members of Kevin’s support group, Kevin’s Facebook Losers, which he set up due to demand on the social networking site.
The Futureheads’ David Craig, aka Jaff, will also be pounding the pavements tomorrow in support of St Oswald’s Hospice.
It will be the first time the Wearside bass player has taken part in the world-famous event.
Jaff, 30, said: “I did the London Marathon in 2010 but I’ve never done the Great North Run before.
“I wanted to run for a charity and thought St Oswald’s Hospice would be perfect as they do great work to support families from the North East and the work they do goes unnoticed by so many until they need it.”
Jaff, who is hoping to complete the run in less than two hours, added: “St Oswald’s have been really supportive in the build-up to the run, I hope I can raise lots of money for them.”
To sponsor Jaff, visit www.justgiving.com/jaffroman.
PANEL WITH PIC
ROCK band Audio Tracer are throwing their musical weight behind the GNR with a free party performance.
The Wearside cover band Audio Tracer will play at the event’s Pasta Party at Gateshead Quayside today.
The five-piece band, who have played for the British troops abroad, will also play to thousands of competitors who will take part in the marathon on Sunday.
Drummer Paul Clark, 36, of Springwell, said: “I know a lot of people taking part in the run.
“I work at Rolls Royce and a lot of the lads from there will be running so it’s great that I get to show my support by playing at the pasta party.”
The party gives the chance for competitors to get information about the race and what to eat and drink on the day.
The band, who are Christian Walker on rhythm guitar, Stephen Young on bass, Paul Newby on lead guitar, singer Ronnie Stockelle and Paul on drums, play covers from artists including Kings of Leon, Oasis, Pink, Coldplay and The Stereophonics.
The free event will be at Mill Road car park as part of today’s marathon of entertainment.