TAKING part in the Great North Run on Sunday was a ‘surreal’ and ‘fantastic’ experience for Rolleston man Ralph Huthmacher.
The 40-year-old was chosen to run the popular Gateshead race as part of former spice girl Mel C’s team, Team North.
Mr Huthmacher, who was raising funds for mental health charity Rethink in memory of his brother-in-law Nick, told the Mail he was delighted to have completed the race in under two hours, finishing in 1:59:39.
He said: “It was fantastic. I am still buzzing. I couldn’t sleep until 4am afterwards.
“The whole day was surreal. I ran with one of the other people from the team and caught up with a few others at some points.
“Mel C did really well and finished in 1:48:04.
“It was nerve wracking at the start but was a fantastic day. What they say about the crowds is so true, they really spur you on - it flew by.
He added: “Mel C is great, she is very down to earth, we had a good bit of banter at the start line – I even ended up giving her a bit of a shoulder massage”
At the event Mr Huthmacher met a host of celebrities including retired footballer Robbie Savage, Natasha Hamilton from Atomic Kitten, and Matthew Lewis who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films.
Mr Huthmacher told the Mail: “My favourite moment was when Iwan Thomas was about to interview Tony Audenshaw (from Emmerdale) and I asked him if he would take a picture of me with him.”.
So far Mr Huthmacher - whose brother-in-law Nick had suffered with mental health problems and alcohol issues up until his death in February - has raised around £600 and is still collecting sponsorship money.
He added: “I only started fund-raising after Nick’s death. It has spurred me on to do these things.
“Nick was a great guy. He adored my daughters and was a fan of music, having been in a band in Derby.”
Sponsor Ralph Huthmacher at www.justgiving.com/Ralph-GNR.