Great North Run: Spectators help runner, 78, claim medal after South Shields storm

Kurtis Walker and Connor Hodgson ran the last three miles of the Great North Run in John Curd's place helping the 78-year-old win his medal. Credit: Handout

A 78-year-old runner who had to stop due to the weather in the Great North Run still got to receive his medal thanks to the actions of two spectators.

John Curd was around three miles from the end of the half marathon when thunderstorms struck South Shields.

Mr Curd, from Southport, said he was "suspicious" of the thunder and lightning so took shelter in a nearby bus stop. He was also struggling with calf pain and felt he could not continue.

It was here that he met Kurtis Walker and Connor Hodgson. The two men helped him to the St John Ambulance tent where he could receive treatment.

John Curd had taken shelter in a bus stop. Credit: Handout

Mr Curd was scared he would not receive his medal in his 40th Great North Run if he did not finish so Mr Walker offered to run for him.

"I was just watching and saw John struggling with the weather," he told ITV Tyne Tees. "He was frightened and scared of the lightning.

"He wanted his medal and I thought if he doesn't finish he won't ever get it so said I would run it for him."

Both men were given medals for their actions. Credit: Handout

The two men then ran the final three miles in Mr Curd's stead, handing him his medal at the finish line. They were both also given medals for their actions.

"I was buzzing and overwhelmed for him," Mr Walker said. "He was ecstatic and couldn't believe what he had done for him.

"We took him back down the course afterwards so he could feel like he had done it."

John Curd has now participated in 40 Great North Runs. Credit: ITV

Mr Curd has been a regular at running events across the world running 130 marathons since the 1980s. He has featured in a dozen London Marathons, the New York Marathon, the Barcelona Marathon and now 40 Great North Runs, raising thousands of pounds for charity including the Southport Offshore Rescue Trust which he raced for on Sunday.

He was keen to praise both Mr Walker and Mr Hodgson for their actions which typified North East attitudes.

"I thought it was typical of the North East spirit," he told ITV Tyne Tees. "I admire them greatly. They were so generous and kind.

"They kept telling me that I was a hero, but really they are the heroes!"

Mr Curd says his experience of this year's Great North Run has not put him off running again. He hopes to participate in two more events to take him up to his 80th birthday.

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