Inspirational Ben keeps on running

w134002'81 year old Ben Smith who completed this years Great North Run and raised �130 for Macmillan nurses.'Picture by Neil Silk'01/10/13

w134002'81 year old Ben Smith who completed this years Great North Run and raised �130 for Macmillan nurses.'Picture by Neil Silk'01/10/13

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The Great North Run is a huge challenge for anybody to undertake, but one Fairways Court resident takes it all in his stride.

Despite being 81-years-old and registered blind, Ben Smith once again completed the world’s most famous half marathon last month.

Mr Smith completes the Great North Run annually, since “getting hooked” 15 years ago.

His eyesight has steadily worsened throughout his life and four years ago Mr Smith was registered blind. But this has not stopped him participating in the race.

His son Steven runs beside his father, guiding him along the route, and Mr Smith said the pair got a huge reception from the gathered crowds as they passed.

Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah also took part in the run this year and Mr Smith said: “We had a 20 minute start on him which was a help. But we knew the game was up when we heard the helicopter coming up behind us, and after that we were swamped.”

To train he heads down Upgang Ravine to the promenade beside the beach and does a relay, gradually increasing the number of laps.

With this year’s oldest runner in their 90s, Mr Smith said he intends to continue completing the Great North Run for as long as he is capable.