Aileen and Brenda achieve half-marathon milestone

Brenda Dodd, left, and Aileen Straughan have both completed all 35 Great North Runs.
Brenda Dodd, left, and Aileen Straughan have both completed all 35 Great North Runs.

Two long-time friends from the Morpeth area are still part of an exclusive club after once again running a world-famous half marathon on Sunday.

Aileen Straughan and Brenda Dodd are two of only four ladies to have completed all 35 Great North Runs. The event covers 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields.

They met each other through work and after taking up running together and getting involved in a few local races, they decided to take on the first of the 13.1-mile races from Newcastle to South Shields on June 28, 1981.

Just over 12,000 took part in the run. About 57,000 did it this year.

Aileen, who lives near Mitford, works in the corporate programmes and external funding section at Northumberland County Council. On Sunday, she was raising money for St Oswald’s Hospice.

She said: “In 1981, we saw the run being advertised on Look North and as we were enjoying the running that we were doing, we both decided to take on the big challenge. It was amazing to see so many people on the central motorway in Newcastle and it was an absolutely brilliant day.

“I have no hesitation in signing up each year and it’s great that me and Brenda have both been able to complete all 35 runs.

“The atmosphere was as fantastic as ever on Sunday, although it could have been a few degrees cooler.”

The duo have both been members of Morpeth Harriers and they are keen walkers.

They are members of the All Great North Run Club, which also includes about 100 men. Many of them, including Brenda and Aileen, met up at the Great North City Games in Newcastle on Saturday.

Kirkhill resident Brenda said: “We’ve had a lot of encouragement from senior Mo-rpeth Harriers members over the years, including Jim Alder.

“We’re both thrilled to still be part of the All Great North Run Club and although I don’t do as much training as I used to, I still enjoy running and doing walking challenges.”