A GROUP of old school friends shocked a close pal after they unexpectedly joined him for an emotional half marathon in memory of his mum.
Richard Dutchak, 25, decided to take part in the Great North Run in tribute to his mother Karen, 52, who died from bowel cancer.
But he did not realise nine of his mates, all former pupils at McAuley School in Cantley, were also planning to pull on their running shoes.
Gobsmacked Richard, of Highbury Crescent, Bessacarr, was going through his last minute preparations with sisters Jenny, 30, and Joanne, 23, who were running alongside him, when his mates turned up on the starting line in Newcastle city centre.
He said: “I had absolutely no clue its was going to happen.
“My sister said we were waiting for her mate from uni and I was getting really impatient. Then the lads surprised me.
“It was very humbling and I’m lucky to have such a good bunch of friends.”
The nine lads - Michael Verity, of Cantley, Nick Twigg, of Bessacarr, John Kilbride, of Town Moor, Kieran O’Loughlin, of Old Cantley, Ben Adams, of Sprotbrough, Calvin Wilkinson, of Rossington, Ashley Davis, of Kirk Sandall, Daniel Welch, of Edlington, and Mike Niles, of High Melton - wanted to pay their respects to Karen, who died in February.
They were also raising money for Bowel Cancer UK to help provide services for other families affected by the disease.
After completing university Richard became a full time carer for his mother before her death.
Mike, 25, said: “We just wanted to pay our tribute to a brilliant woman and family.
“The look on Richard’s face when we surprised him would be worth doing the half-marathon all over again.”
The team, who named themselves ‘Dutchies Dynamos’, hoped to raise £3,000 from Sunday’s event.
Their current total stands just over £2,500. For more details see www.justgiving.com/Dutchies-Dynamos