Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harriers Keep Up the Fundraising Pace as Chairman Is Honoured

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Harriers Keep Up the Fundraising Pace as Chairman Is Honoured

Article excerpt

Byline: Vicky Robson

THEY first pledged their support for the Great North Fitness Revolution as they prepared for a gruelling charity cycle.

Now, one year on, members of a Gateshead running club are celebrating after their chairman was chosen to carry the Olympic torch on its route through Tyneside.

Seasoned runner and ex-Marine Fred Smith, of Wrekenton, was nominated to do the honours by his teenage daughter.

"I'm very proud to be doing it. The first I knew I'd been nominated as a torch bearer was when I got an email about it," says 55-year-old Fred.

The father-of-two adds: "And to be doing it in Gateshead, which is my home town, is just great.

"I was nominated by Aoife for the work I do as a coach in the community. I think it's brilliant and I'm really looking forward to it."

Fred joined Saltwell Harriers in 1985. He served in the Falklands and volunteers at his local Boys Brigade, helping out with sporting and life skills activities.

Daughter Aoife, 14, wrote in her nomination of Fred: "He has supported and encouraged many people in their sport or life. He pushes himself to do his very best in all he does whether it is at work, at home or during races. He believes that you can achieve whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.

"This is why I think that my dad, somebody who has helped in the local community and always tries to do his best, should be a London 2012 Olympic torchbearer."

Fred will carry the torch on June 16, cheered on by his fellow Harriers.

It's a great achievement for the club, which has gone from strength to strength in the past year since it featured in The Journal's Great North Fitness Revolution.

Harrier Vicky Cuthbertson, 37, of Bensham, said: "The club has doubled in size over the past couple of years and we have members in their early 20s right up to in their 50s.

"I think running is starting to become a little bit more popular now. It's quite a cheap sport to do, all you need is a decent pair of trainers and then you can get going. And people really get into it quite quickly."

Last year saw the Harriers host their centenary race, a sell-out event with 400 runners taking part. …

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