Team Action Foundation did us proud in the Great North Run this year raising more than £7,000 to help refugees and asylum seekers across Tyne and Wear.

First across the finish line for Action Foundation was Eritrean refugee, Eyob Casa, a volunteer with our InterAction Drop-in. Eyob did a fantastic time, finishing the 13.1 mile course from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields in an hour and a half – well, 01:32:20 to be precise! His sponsorship page is still open if you would like to help him reach his fundraising target. Click here to donate.

Eyob was our first finisher

Second in was one of our long-time supporters, Sam Thompson, who crossed the line at 01:44:16 and the third of our finishers was another InterAction volunteer, Charlie Bowden, who completed the run in 01:51:14.

Sam said:  “Although I’ve done a few half marathons previously, this was my first Great North Run! I’m originally from the North East, but spent a decade living elsewhere from 2009. Returning to Newcastle in 2019, I decided I’d like to do the GNR at least once. My fiance and I have actually been regular supporters of Action Foundation for a number of years. It’s really important to me that refugees are well supported. Given the struggles experienced on their journeys – whatever they may be – I’d like to think that their arrival in the UK and the North East is as smooth, supportive and kind as possible. I think that localised support networks such as those created by Action Foundation play a key role in this.”

For our very own Dave Bowditch, who is retiring as Head of Fundraising at Action Foundation in October, yesterday’s GNR was the third and last in a hat trick of challenges for which he’d sought sponsorship and he managed a very creditable 2 hours 10. It wasn’t last year’s under 2 hours time, but this year he HAD already completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks in under 12 hours and a 170-mile coast to coast cycle ride between Morecambe and Bridlington.

Of course the atmosphere of the Great North Run was a little different this year in tribute to Her late Majesty the Queen who passed away just three days previously, which had led to concerns the Great North Run might not go ahead at all.

Dave said: “The event started with a moving tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, led by faith leaders from the North East, which gave thanks for, and celebrated, her life of service and the times she had visited the region.

“Everyone joined in quietly and respectfully with the minute’s service before breaking out into warm applause at the end of the national anthem, which seemed very fitting and set the scene for the starting gun – fired this year by Eilish McColgan, fresh from her success at the European Championships.”

“There was a huge level of support from all ages of the local community, offering runners everything from jelly babies to ice pops and bottles of water. There was an Elvis impressionist and the usual steel bands which really lifted the atmosphere.”

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who ran for us or who sponsored those running. The Great North Run is our biggest community fundraising event of the year and it’s always an absolutely incredible atmosphere so if you’d like to join us at next year’s run, either as a runner or in a volunteer capacity, do get in touch in January when we’ll be advertising places in GNR 2023.