Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

In the Running" to Win Tees Pride; Volunteers Set out on Fitness Mission

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

In the Running" to Win Tees Pride; Volunteers Set out on Fitness Mission

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN SUTTON

THE applications have been sifted through and the lucky hopefuls kitted out.

Yes, the NHS Tees Challenge final 16 have been chosen and are now at the start of an incredible journey to a healthier lifestyle.

Gazette running guru Phil Barker is the mentor and trainer for the 16 - that's four from Middlesbrough, four from Hartlepool, four from Stockton and four from Redcar and Cleveland - and has praised the team for their flying start.

"The team have got off to a really enthusiastic start and are all taking part in the training.

"We've got some who haven't exercised for decades, some who are carrying a bit of extra weight or some who've been smokers.

"But they are all really keen and have started to make running a part of their lives," said Phil.

The 16, who range in age from 20 to 50, all have their own reasons for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle.

Some want to lose weight, or to be more active so they can spend more time playing with their kids.

Others have got to an age where they are looking back at a couple of decades of inaction, and have chosen to change their lifestyle.

IT project manager Neal Aberdeen, 37, was 23 stone this summer, but the dad-of-three has already lost eight stone this year, and is a regular runner.

He said: "I'm really looking forward to going on my runs now, if I miss one I'm disappointed!" "When I started in October I would struggle to do a mile - now a 5K run is the norm."

Vince Ryan, 46, a pub landlord from Redcar, was one of Phil's volunteers for the Tees Pride 10K last year and has offered to mentor this year's challengers.

He's had a Christmas break from running, but is looking forward to pounding the streets again in 2010.

"Getting into running is something I'm so glad I did, and I wish all the best to those taking part in the Tees Challenge.

"I'd say to them just go for it -by deciding to take part they've already taken the hardest step."

The volunteers are training to run four road races next year: * March 28: Hartlepool Marina 5 Mile Road Race * May 3: Tees Barrage 10K * July 25: Marske 10K * September 5: Middlesbrough 10K The scheme follows on from the success of the Evening Gazette's Team Tees Pride, which saw four novice runners take up the challenge of training for the Middlesbrough 10K. …

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