‘The love we have for her kept us going’

On 12th September, our 150 amazing runners took to the streets of Newcastle, crossing the iconic Tyne Bridge twice and traversing the beautiful coastline of South Shields to raise (so far!) a fantastic £90k.

Amongst them were Emma, Ryan, Kelly and her little boy Jack, who ran in memory of their mother in law, gran and granny Maureen, sadly lost to pancreatic cancer in 2018 just a month after diagnosis.

In total, 57,000 embraced a changed course for the first time since the half marathon’s launch in 1981, marking a triumphant return for its 40th anniversary.

Kelly’s story

“Shockingly, less than 7% of people with pancreatic cancer will survive beyond 5 years in the UK.

As a family, we know the absolute heartache this disease causes after losing such a special person when it was too late for treatment.

We lost Maureen in April 2018 to this awful cancer. She was loved by so many and was simply the best wife, mam, mother in law, granny, sister, sister in law and aunty we could have asked for. It was so sudden and unexpected, it ripped our hearts to shreds.

I’ve also witnessed the devastating effects of this cancer so many times in my work as a district nurse, and seen first-hand the huge importance of support for patients and families.

In particular, we wanted to raise money for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, as this is the key to providing treatment that could make such a difference and has the potential to save lives.

I had several events planned last year which were sadly impacted by Covid, so it felt extra special this year to take part in the Great North Run for the fifth time, in addition to running 100km in July and August.

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Quotemarks Created with Sketch.

I've witnessed the devastating effects of this cancer in my work as a district nurse, and really wanted to raise money for earlier diagnosis. It's the potential key to saving lives.


I found the new course route a lot tougher. The last bit was a killer, particularly as I had struggled to train more than 7 miles due to a calf injury in July.

It was Ryan and Emma’s first time, and they both did incredibly well. Ryan managed to run the whole way, and is planning to do it again next year with a goal of under 2 hours! Emma was so proud to have completed it, as we all were, and knew that her gran was cheering her on.

I posted a Facebook live story crossing the bridge in Newcastle, saying I was struggling but telling everyone that Maureen was on my shoulder.

The love we have for her really kept us going.

My little boy, Jack, also ran the mini run for 3-8 year olds and I’m so proud of him for doing it. It was such an achievement, him coping and managing to do it. Maureen was his granny and my main source of childcare. Jack has non-verbal autism, but if he could talk, he would tell us all about their special bond.

Altogether, we are so pleased to have raised £1,597, smashing our target of £900 and working to make a real difference for a cause so close to our hearts.”

Join team Pancreatic Cancer UK and get involved in the iconic half marathon next year.

Find out how