Man to take part in the Great North Run after breaking neck and back

Man with a broken spine takes on the Great North Run Credit: PDSA/PA

In exactly one week, Ben Forster from Denton Burn will take on the gruelling 13.1mile route from Newcastle to South Shields as he takes part in the Great North Run.

Ben, 28 was left with a broken neck and back following a devastating football accident.

In 2013, sports fanatic Ben was playing American football for Gateshead Senators when his life changed forever.

An accident during the game left Ben with a broken spine, meaning he went from living an active life to being wheelchair bound.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the consequences of my accident.

Ben Forster

Through sheer grit and determination Ben is now tackling marathons and is gearing up to take part in Newcastle’s famous Great North Run on Sunday 10 September.

This has only been possible after finding my wheelchair on Gumtree for £40 as I wouldn’t have been able to afford a new specialist one that’s suitable for long distances.”

Ben Forster
Ben is running the Great North Run on behalf of pet charity PDSA Credit: PDSA

Ben is running the Great North Run on behalf of pet charity PDSA, who saved his beloved Border Collie, Mollie, when she required critical treatment last year.

I’m eternally grateful to PDSA for saving Mollie so I’m fundraising for them to say thank you.”

Ben Forster

But the Great North Run won’t be Ben’s first big event since his accident.

He took part in a half-marathon last year for PDSA, and even held his own event called Push Power, where people could try a few laps around a running track in his wheelchair to see what it’s like from his point of view.

He’s hoping to hold another similar event this year as part of his fundraising mission. This year alone, Ben has completed the Sliverstone half marathon, the Rock n Roll Liverpool marathon, and Darlington 10k.

When he’s not busy training for challenges, Ben is also the Head Coach of the Newcastle Blackhawks Flag American football team as well as being a Defensive Coach for the national team.

Rosie Gibbons from PDSA’s Fundraising team said:

Ben is truly inspirational. His grit and determination is unfaltering and we’re so proud that he’s part of our fundraising team. His efforts mean that we’re able to continue our vital service, treating sick and injured pets across the UK. From all of us at PDSA, thank you! We’ll be wishing Ben the best of luck and I hope other animal lovers will support him too.”

Rosie Gibbons from PDSA’s

To support Ben’s inspiring mission to raise funds for poorly pets in need, visit his fundraising

You can also follow Ben’s story using the hashtag #KeepOnROLN.