HE may be entering his eighth decade, but James Bainbridge shows no signs of slowing down as he prepares to embark on his 27th Great North Run. James, of Tunstall, thought he had missed out on entering the world’s biggest half-marathon
The 70-year-old has run the last 26 Great North Runs, but missed out on a place for this year.
It was then that he saw the Echo’s competition to give Sunderland runners a free place.
Former Sunderland Royal Hospital worker James jumped at the chance to get himself in the running.
He has a very special reason for pounding the pavements of the 13-mile course later this year.
James, who is married to Audrey, 57, explained: “My cousin Edward Prinns died from Huntington’s Disease
“It was terrible when it got worse for him. He was lying in his hospital bed and there was nothing anyone could do.”
Huntington’s Disease is a genetic disorder which affects muscle coordination and also leads to cognitive decline and psychiatric problems.
It was after seeing Edward with the condition that James felt inspired to run in aid of the Huntington’s Disease Association.
“Their support was without doubt essential to our family’s understanding of the illness and being able to cope with the inevitable outcome and beyond.”
“When I first started doing the run I used to do it for a different charity every year, but then decided to do it for Huntington’s Disease.
“The charity says that so few people are doing it for them, so I’m happy to raise money for them.
Despite his age, James is still expecting to post a swift time in the run.
“I’ll be trying to do it in 2hours 15mins or two-and-a-half hours if I can.
“But I’ll have to see how I feel on the day.
“You see a lot of people setting off fast and then they are slumped on the pavement later on, so I will take it steady.
“I’m sure I will finish the run, anyway.”
This year’s race takes place on Sunday, September 16 and will be broadcast live on BBC1.