Iron Ron runs his 39th Great North Run – 8th Sept

Ron Snaith is no stranger to taking part in the half-marathon in the North East, after completing the 13.1 mile race every year since it began in 1981. He loves “buzz” of taking part. However, this year is especially awe-inspiring, as Ron was unfortunately diagnosed with mesothelioma in December 2018, and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Not letting his diagnosis stop him, Ron is as determined as ever to complete the annual event and raise money for Mesothelioma UK at the same time. It’s easy to see why his friends and family affectionately refer to him as “Iron Ron”.

Ron started experiencing chest pains in 2017, but was initially given the all clear by his doctor. After he struggled to breathe whilst hiking on holiday with his partner, Denise Golden, in Croatia, further tests and scans were arranged. Biopsy results, given at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on December 21st – Denise’s birthday – confirmed the worst. Ron said: “It was devastating. I was aware it could happen to me, I thought I had missed it but unfortunately I’m one of the unlucky ones. Having worked in the ship yards on the Tyne as a joiner in my younger days, this was my biggest fear.”

Ron was offered an operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. The surgery was an aggressive treatment to remove all visible signs of tumours and the affected lining of the lung. Chemotherapy sessions have followed since, affecting Ron’s weight and mobility, but not his determination to run.

He said: “I can’t run it, I’ve tried and the constriction on my chest means I can’t. But I can walk about six or seven miles, and the rest will be in a wheelchair. I’ve said as long as I can walk or crawl, I’m going to do the Great North Run.”

Mesothelioma UK is grateful to Ron for choosing the charity, and would like to wish him every luck and good wish. You can support Ron’s fundraiser by visiting




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