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Great North Run - your stories
2008 was Robert's first GNR
Running for the family
Robert Cummins was inspired to train for the Great North Run by thoughts of his stepdad and nan.
Robert Cummins from Kimblesworth, near Chester-le-Street, ran the Great North Run in 2008 to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign.
He got in touch with BBC Tyne to tell us how thoughts of both his nan, who had breast cancer, and his stepdad, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2008, kept him going during training.
You can read the full story below, but first Robert tells us how he got on.
The start of Great North Run 2008
Robert's Great North Run 2008:
"It was a great day. I completed the run in two hours and 14 minutes so not bad but I will definitely do it again to get under the two hour mark.
"It was very cold at the starting line but it quickly changed once I was on the go. The amount of people on the road during the entire race was amazing and took me by surprise.
"It was going to plan till I hit the nine-mile mark and then my legs were shot to pieces. I stopped several times to try and get my breath back so overall I think I did well.
"The after-race massage was worth the hour wait in the marquee. My legs are very sore today [Monday 6 October] and going up and down the stairs at home is painful but I'll be good in no time, and will be back I hope next year to raise more money for a worthy charity."
Read the original feature about why Robert decided to enter Great North Run 2008:
Training for the Great North Run can sometimes feel like a slog.
2008 was Robert's first GNR
Finding the strength to ignore the call of the sofa and go running after a hard day at work isn't easy, especially if it's raining outside.
For Robert Cummins, it's thoughts of his family that have kept him pounding the streets day after day in preparation for the 2008 event.
Robert, from Kimblesworth, near Chester-le-Street, decided to enter the race in memory of his nan, who died of breast cancer in her forties.
"I lost my nan when I was three so I never knew her but I've seen videos of her with my mam," Robert says. "So I always wanted to raise money for charity.
"I've wanted to do [the run] since I was about 22 but it was the gym I joined up with last year that's really kicked me into doing it."
So far, Robert, 26, has collected about £450 in sponsorship from family, friends and colleagues, which will go to Breast Cancer Campaign.
He started training for the event back in December 2007 and says that at first just running a mile was "a daunting task".
A heart condition he was diagnosed with at 11 meant he had to build up the distance very gradually over the months - a slow process that was mentally tough at times.
"It does get monotonous in the bad months when you're going on the treadmill every other day and looking at the white paint on the wall," he admits.
"I think I'd be lying [to say I enjoy it]. I find that once I get to the six mile mark I find it very hard and I've had to push myself and I've had to shout in my mind a lot.
"I know it's all in the mind."
Thinking of Tom
Sadly, Robert's stepdad, Tom, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier in 2008 and Robert says thinking about the strength Tom has shown has encouraged him to keep going.
"A lot of the time I think of him and I think if he, with the stuff he's going through at the minute, which God knows you can only imagine, if he can do it, and he always smiles every time I see him and keeps his chin up, then I can keep on running.
Runners in Great North Run 2008
"So I know it sounds silly but in my mind I always think to myself if Tom can do that then I can keep on going.
"It's just been an absolute nightmare since May when he was diagnosed and it's still surreal now.
"So I keep going for him, and obviously for my nan as well, because that's why I [entered]."
It's been a tough year but Robert feels proud of what he's achieved in his training, especially with the added complication of his heart condition.
"I'm really proud of myself in that respect because I can comfortably run eight, nine miles now outside and I just didn't think that I would ever be able to do that. So from a personal point of view I'm over the moon with it.
"I think it'll all come together on the Sunday - touch wood!"
last updated: 07/10/2008 at 16:31