Michelle Smith, from Liverpool, joined thousands of runners on Sunday taking on the biggest half marathon in the world – the Great North Run – in memory of her hero, her dad.
“My dad was my hero, and when I cross the finish line at the Great North Run, I’m going to be an emotional mess. I’m going to be an emotional mess at the start of it all, and then when it’s all over I know I’ll cry again! I hope that I am doing him proud by completing this in his memory, I just wish he could be here to see me do it.
I’m looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere and taking part in the Great North Run with my friend Diane (if you’re looking for me on TV I’ll be at the back!. My friends and family are proud of me for doing this, my niece (a mini Roy’s Runner) was desperate to join us but she’s far too young.
My dad, Dave was diagnosed with lung cancer in early 2011. He’d had a persistent cough that didn’t go away, and after doctors’ visits and scans it was confirmed he had the disease.
He went in for an operation to remove half of his right lung and had a few rounds of treatment too.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned, and on 27th November 2013 my dad passed away.
The last conversation I had with him was on the Saturday before, telling him to take his tablets and to make sure he ate, he gave me a sarcastic response, told me ‘I’m not a bad skin for a banana’ and demanded a kiss on the cheek goodbye before I went back home.
I’ve been running since January 2017. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (an under-active thyroid) in 2016, so made the decision to join the gym. I signed up for a Couch to 5k and that was really the start of my running journey.
From then onwards I ran 5k’s and 10k’s at my own comfortable pace, happy with the distance with some thoughts of possibly taking it further. My most lovely friend Diane has been with me along the way and together we’ve done so much.
I heard about running the Great North Run for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and after a little bit of thinking, and knowing what the charity does, I signed up with Diane. That’s when the training kicked in.
To prepare I’ve tried to take part in as many races as I can, taking part in social runs, signing up for the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, as well as the Southport Half as ‘practise’. I run as often as I can, including some very challenging routes!
We’ve gone from novices to half marathon runners and taking on the Great North Run, proving in life you can do anything.
If we can, then you can!”