Harrogate district Mayor gets ready to take on Great North Run

The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Stuart Martin, and Mayoress April Martin.
The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Coun Stuart Martin, and Mayoress April Martin.

The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate will swap his mayoral chains for a runner's medal on Sunday, as he prepares to take on the Great North Run after months of juggling training sessions with his packed programme of civic engagements.

It has been a surreal time for Stuart Martin, who has found himself waking up at 5.30am on some days to complete a 10k run, to then go home, have a shower, and go back out again to attend the wide range of events listed in his mayoral diary - changing from his running gear into his mayoral robes.

With so many civic engagements to attend, it has been a tough juggling act for Stuart, who is taking part in the world-famous half marathon to raise funds for Maggie’s Centre, which provides free practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends.

While Stuart admits that his training schedule has taken a bit of a hit since being sworn in as mayor, he said he feels ready to take on the Great North Run and give it all that he has got for a very important cause.

Stuart said: "Maggie's Centre does absolutely fantastic work, and I would encourage anybody to support what they do. Thinking about Maggie's Centre and what the people go through who are supported by it, will keep me going around the course.

"The atmosphere at the Great North Run is fantastic, and the support and encouragement that you get from people lining the streets is amazing. The community spirit makes it a really special and memorable event for everybody taking part."

As well as the magical atmosphere, with more than 56,000 runners taking part each year, Stuart said it is the wide array of kind and thoughtful gestures along the route that also stand out. He gives particular mention to the jelly babies that are handed out - a favourite moment of refreshment for Stuart, that he said always seems to come at just the right point.

Stuart has set himself a fundraising target of £400 this year - click here to sponsor him and support Maggie's Centre in the process.