FIVE novice wheelchair racers from the North West – aged between 13 and 66 – will compete in a special one mile race on the eve of the Great North Run.

The inaugural running of The Unlimited Great North Wheelchair Event takes place in Newcastle on Saturday September.

The Unlimited Company invited wheelchair users to apply for the chance to be fitted with a racing wheelchair and to have the opportunity to train with Paralympic coach Rick Hoskins before taking part in the event.

The lucky five are Ian Iriving (66), Richard Heather (50), Lucy Keyworth (17), Rosie Macauley (15) and Megan Bradley (13).

They are all based in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, and have been training at Stockport Harriers Athletics Club.

The scheme is part of an overall ambition to inspire people of all ages and abilities to become more active and enjoy better everyday health.

Ian Irving, from Lowton, Greater Manchester, suffers from post-polio syndrome. He believes the event can be a catalyst for breaking down the barriers which disabled people face when trying to access sport and physical activities.

He said: “Disabled people tend to lead more sedentary lifestyles because of their condition or barriers to exercise.

“But well publicised events, such as The Unlimited Great North Wheelchair event can encourage people to get more active.”

This year Simplyhealth became title partner of The Great Run Series and launched its #millionsmoving campaign, which aims to encourage greater participation levels in sport and physical activity.