BEST friends are gearing up for the Great North Run in memory of their dads.
Nicola York and Vickey Teasdale, from Sunderland, have been inseparable ever since they met on a youth training scheme aged just 16.
When their fathers died in the same year, the pair’s friendship grew even stronger.
Nicola, from Roker lost her dad, Alfie Wyatt, 56, to Motor Neurone Disease (MND), in September 2007.
The progressive disease, which is incurable, attacks nerves in the brain and stops muscles from working.
The 37-year-old secretary said: “I was absolutely devastated when he was diagnosed with MND in January 2007.
“The disease affected his chest muscles, making it very difficult for him to breathe.
She added; “He died half an hour before his birthday on September 26 and he is my inspiration to run for MND Association.
“There is no cure and without research, there never will be.
“My dad never had a chance, but hopefully in the future other people will.
“Vickey is my best friend and we have been through so much together, especially over the past five years.”
Vickey, a personal assistant from Hall Farm, will join Nicola at the half-marathon in September in memory of her dad, Johnny Bradley, who suffered a brain haemorrhage on December 23, 2007.
She said: “My dad was laughing one minute then he collapsed and we thought he’d had a heart attack.
“He had suffered a brain haemorrhage from a burst aneurysm and it was a complete shock.
“He was never one to go to the doctors or be poorly and he was in a coma for eight months.
“He later died of septicaemia on August 11 in 2008, aged 53.
The 37-year-old, who is raising money for Sunderland charity Headway, added: “Nicola has been a huge support.
“We have been great friends for years and this has made us closer.
“I watched the Great North Run last year and I knew then and there that I had a reason to do it and rang Nicola to see if she wanted to.
“We train four times a week and it is hard work, but the causes we are running for and our dads are what keeps us going.”
This year’s Great North Run takes place on Sunday, September 16.
To donate to either cause, visit justgiving.com/nicolayork1 or uk.virginmoneygiving.com/vickeyteasdale.