Ten-year-old Isaac Fell got to rub shoulders with top stars from the world of athletics as he helped start the Junior Great North Run.
The keen runner, from Tallington, was chosen for the honour after a leukaemia diagnosis and subsequent treatment meant he was unable to compete this year.
On Saturday, Isaac was interviewed for the BBC by former 110m hurdles world champion turned broadcaster Colin Jackson.
He then watched brother Noah, 8, run the 1.5km Mini race and finish in an impressive seventh place out of hundreds of competitors.
After seeing elite athletes including long jumper Greg Rutherford compete in the Great City Games on Newcastle’s Quayside, it was time to start the 4km Junior race.
Isaac was one of three official starters – the others being British athlete Gemma Steel and Kenyan Emmanuel Bett, who went on to finish third in the Great North Run on Sunday.
The runners were set off in four waves and it was the fourth – for those aged 9 and 10 – which was really special for Isaac because it was the race he was due to take part in before being diagnosed, alongside one of his best friends Kyle Warner.
Isaac’s mum Liz said: “He would have loved to have been able to run, instead of starting the race, but the Great North Run team were so lovely with him that it was still a great weekend.
“Colin Jackson did an in-depth interview with Isaac – some of which was shown during the BBC’s coverage of the Great North Run – and he was lovely, spending a lot of time posing for photos and signing autographs.
“At the end of the day he said all that he had done was just so special. But if he had the choice in the future to have the media attention and star treatment or run the race, he would choose to run.
“I love his passion and attitude.”
Isaac’s dad Simon took part in the half-marathon on Sunday, finishing in 146th place out of around 57,000 runners.
Liz’s father Mike Freeman also took part. He has lost count but believes he has previously run it around 28 times.
Other #TeamFell runners included Nene Valley Harriers runner Darren Warner and Isaac’s aunty Lisa Fell.
Since Isaac’s diagnosis in February, the Fell family have been raising money for four cancer charities and have so far raised more than £4,000.
To make a donation, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/TeamFell