An Auditel franchise cost management specialist has raised over £750 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance by running the Bupa Great North Run.

Paul Wilkes, who works with his father Phil in their Ilkley Auditel franchise, took part in the 13.1 miles half marathon last month. He said: “I had no previous running experience when I entered. The first run I went on was 1.6 miles and I was destroyed. However, I figured I’d get more donations if I did something I didn’t want to do, so I have been training since February to conquer the Great North Run.

“Anyone who has ever shared a football pitch with me will know that I used to struggle to run for 13 minutes, let alone the 13 miles from Newcastle to South Shields.

“In October 2009, Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance saved my uncle Myk’s life when he fell off a roof. Subsequently, I joined him on a 13 mile charity walk in 2010 when he had recovered. This inspired me and I wanted to do something to raise some money for the Air Ambulance in my own region. Their work to help save lives is entirely paid for by charitable donations. To keep their helicopters in the air £7,200 per day is needed. Since their launch in 2000, they have flown over 4,300 patients directly to hospitals across the region. I was astonished to find out that somehow such a crucial lifesaving service gets no government funding.

“The day before the race I passed my fundraiser target of £500. I was delighted and knew this would spur me on to do well. I was so grateful to everyone for helping sponsor Yorkshire Air Ambulance. In my training, I had been running at 10 minutes per mile so I was aiming to finish the 13.1 mile course in 2 hours 11 minutes.

“When I started, I realised this would be hard, as dodging though the congested crowds to keep up my pace was taking its toll. However, I powered through, stayed dedicated and finished it in a personal best time of 2 hours 5 minutes 51 seconds. To date I have raised over £750.”

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