A brave cancer fighter was chosen to share the podium with athlete Paula Radcliffe to kick off the Great Manchester Run.
Ben Ashworth, 36, from Broadgate, Preston, was selected to join the world record holder at the 10k run after winning a newspaper competition.
The father-of-three, who has terminal bowel cancer, has run 14 marathons while undergoing treatment.
He took to the podium at the event on Sunday and set off the thousands of runners in the ‘pink wave’.
Ben said: “I was nervous, to say she is a hero of mine isn’t an exaggeration. She is someone I have watched and followed with great interest. Meeting her was really great.
“There were 40,000 runners. It was immense, the whole day was incredible. I am so grateful.
There were 40,000 runners. It was immense, the whole day was incredible. I am so grateful.Ben Ashworth
“Big events like the London Marathon and Greater Manchester Run are celebrations of humanity. Lots of people are running for charity and there are lots of stories. It was an incredible day.
“It was a tremendous honour, I feel incredibly lucky.
“In all of this, I have ran 14 marathons and raised nearly £30,000.”
Ben said his running challenges are all about raising awareness of Bowel Cancer.
He was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in March 2012, and after undergoing chemotherapy was given a prognosis of six to 12 months in February 2013. He refused to give up.
He started running in order to keep his fitness up and as a way to raise funds for charity. In the last year, he has completed a number of marathon distances, including the Berlin Marathon and Great North Run.
Ben and his wife Louise both took part in the London Marathon in April.
To donate visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BensBowelMovements