Michelle prepares to run in aid of local hospice

A local woman will be completing 2 half marathons and running more than 1,000 miles in 2019 to help the care, support and activities provided at Eden Valley Hospice.

On Saturday 8 June Michelle Dunning will be taking part in the Isle of Skye Half Marathon and on Sunday 8 September she will be running around the streets on Newcastle at the Great North Run. This year’s Skye Half Marathon, Great North Run and running challenge will be special for Michelle as she runs in memory of her sister and in aid of the local charity.

Michelle, 43 from Great Orton, explained,

“On the 7 November 2017 at 06:05 my world fell apart. My beautiful amazing sister gained her wings aged just 45. She was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer just three months earlier.

“She was initially given 12 months but within a fortnight that had been reduced to just months. They moved her from hospital to Weston Hospice, Weston Super Mare. She was convinced she was only going in for a couple of weeks then going home. The months prognosis turned into just weeks. As you can image living in Cumbria it was hard being so far away but I travelled down most weekends.

“I can’t begin to say how amazing their care for my sister was. The last weekend I visited we were told we had just days with her, this is when the hospice took charge of me not just my sister. They set up a room for me so I could stay by her side 24/7.”

Michelle will be joined on the start line of the Great North Run by a team of Eden Valley Hospice and Jigsaw fundraisers all with their own reason for being there on the day.

Michelle continued,

“My sister and I are from Durham, we had grown up with the Great North Run. I am the most unfit couch potato in the world. In her final weeks I told her I was going to run the Great North Run to raise money for the hospice. She laughed, I don’t blame her. The Great North Run means a lot to me because it’s our roots.

“So I started training, I didn’t get far because I picked up a few injuries, so in 2018 I did my very first Great North Run. The furthest I had plodded up until then was 7 miles, and that was walking. It’s safe to say I underestimated how far 13.1 miles was, but I did it. I did it in 4 hours and 8 minutes. It was hard, but my sister pushed me around.

“I also found that getting out and training, even if it was just walking most of the time, cleared my head so much. I often cried, still do, but I honestly think the focus and the training are helping me cope with missing her. Don’t get me wrong it’s hard to actually get out the door but once I’m out it helps massively.

“My father in law was also diagnosed with asbestos cancer just months after loosing my sister. He now has only a few months with us.”

Every runner taking part in this year’s Great North Run will have their own memory, reasons and purpose for completing the 13.1 mile course. Whether it is to set a personal best time or to raise money in aid of charity they will create memories which will last a life time.

Michelle concluded,

“Last year I raised money for Weston Hospice but I decided all hospices are in the same boat and they all do a equally amazing role. It took a lot of soul searching as I felt I was betraying Weston Hospice but I decided I wanted to support my local hospice as Cumbria is now my home.

“I am looking forward to the Great North Run for the atmosphere, the Oggie, Oggie, Oggie and the atmosphere sending goose bumps through you. Complete strangers shouting your name and pushing you on and the feeling of getting over the finish line. The sight of the sea letting you know your nearly there. Not being able to walk the next day, the proof that you did it and pushed yourself. Daft I know, but it gives you a wonderful sense of achievement.

“I am not looking forward to the sight of the see, it’s a steep downhill, that hurts by then. The last miles of the run as it never ends and the mile walk back to the Metro station, that hurts.”

The money raised by Michelle will help the local charity to provide care, support and activities to local adults with life limiting illnesses. This care and compassion is extended to all the patients’ families, friends and carers. If you would like to sponsor Michelle please visit