How to stand out in the Great North Run

What do you do when you've ran the Great North Run 15 times already, and want to really stand out? You run it wearing a fridge on your back of course.

I first met Tony Morrison in March 2011 at the offices of his company, Targets Located, in Gateshead on a Wednesday lunchtime to discuss possible training. 5 minutes into his consultation and he had told me he intended to firstly run the Great North Run wearing a plasma TV or fridge (he wasn't sure at that stage), then run from Wembley to St James Park in Newcastle in as little time as possible, then compete in the 2012 Badwater Ultra Marathon; a 135 mile non-stop race from Death Valley to Mt Whitney in California in temperatures up to 55 degrees. "Is this guy serious?" I found myself asking silently.

Then Tony expanded on some of the training he had completed already. A keen runner, passionate about forefoot running and Newton Gravity trainers, he had already completed the London Marathon several times, Edinburgh Marathon, was signed up to the Barcelona Marathon, and routinely ran 20-30 miles. His favourite run at that time had been a recent effort where his wife Janita drove him to Hexham and dropped him off there, letting Tony run a picturesque route home. To Hebburn where he lived..

I began training with Tony the next week with my initial remit being to improve core strength and improve lean muscle mass whilst attempting to lower body fat, all in order to benefit his running and keep him in the best shape possible for his challenges to come. We began with Kettlebells and within 2 sessions Tony was hooked; on arriving at one session I noticed he had purchased a set of shiny cast iron Kettlebells all of his own to use. Soon the lifts began to take shape and he was throwing the weights around with increasing confidence, real progressive overload taking place, and he was getting stronger and stronger.

Towards the middle of the summer we incorporated weighted bag running. I used a pretty standard Nike backpack with magazines, a kettlebell and towels stuffed in (to stop the Kettlebell jumping around), and we headed out on between 4 and 6 mile runs. Sometimes hilly, these training runs were invaluable if Tony was to complete his Great North Run target.

In the 2 month period before the Great North Run Tony's training increased onto longer runs, with and without the extra weight, and probably the hardest half marathon I've ever done; Tony's "Angel run" from his home winding up the old waggonways to the Angel of the north monument. Hilly in parts but very scenic.

In the 2 week period before the Great North Run, Tony began attracting quite a bit of media attention for the "fridge run". It began with a front page spread on the local Shields Gazette, quickly picked up by the Newcastle Journal, then a mention on Channel 5's "The Wright Stuff", followed by a feature on BBC Look North where Tony and I were interviewed about the run. He was featured on Metro Radio in the week prior to the race, then was featured on the BBC One coverage on the actual day being interviewed by Jonathan Edwards.

I'm really pleased to say, after a long and hard slog Tony completed the Great North Run, carrying a 40kg fridge on his back, in an amazing time of 2 hours 51 minutes. He was running for South Tyneside Football Trust, a local organisation providing community based football activities for the area.