A fundraising ball to celebrate Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison’s successful run across Europe raised £7,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation this week.
This summer’s run was the latest leg in Mark’s challenge to run around the world, which has raised over £266,000 for charities to date.
The Around the World Ball at the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, was hosted by BBC Radio presenters Gary Phillipson and Lisa Shaw and included a fantastic performance from Jarrow’s Abi Garrido.
Mark took the opportunity to thank his supporters and sponsors and outlined exciting new plans to an audience that included Lady Elsie Robson and Jack and Pat Charlton.
The software developer from Bedlington, Northumberland, explained the difficulties he will face on the next leg of his journey – Belgrade (Serbia) to Astana (Kazakhstan) – and that he is exploring the possibility of running unaccompanied in future. Something Mark refers to as Project Francis.
Running with no support team will mean transporting his entire kit, supplies and even his bed by himself using a specially designed buggy. It is an exciting but extremely serious proposal and something Mark and his two charities are looking into carefully.
Mark says: “I’m so pleased with the money raised at the ball for the two charities. It was a wonderful night and it felt right explaining about my plans to run solo to a room full of enthusiastic supporters.
“There’s a long way to go before anything is set in stone though. Safety and feasibility issues need to be carefully considered.
“I’ve had sign off from my family and the two charities to explore the possibility of running unaccompanied and now I need to prove to myself and to them that it’s a viable option.
“That’s what I’m looking into now. I’ve found the right company to design and construct the buggy and begun discussions with possible commercial sponsors. Thankfully, they seem as excited by Project Francis’ potential as I am.”
If all agreements are in place and sufficient commercial backing is found, Mark’s buggy will be constructed to his exact specification by SJH Projects Ltd in Nottingham. They have previously worked with Sir Ranulph Fiennes on numerous projects including ‘The Coldest Journey’ in 2012.
It will be made from the same carbon fibre material found in F1 technology, which is an extremely strong material compared to its weight.
The buggy will be a little over 2 metres in length and will use readily available BMX wheels should repairs be needed on the route. Its chassis will be made from steel.
If all goes to plan, construction will begin in November 2016. Testing will be done in the UK in Spring 2017 with a view to a more extreme test in the United Arab Emirates in Summer 2017. Final testing and fine tuning will be carried out in time for Run Geordie Run Around the World to resume in Belgrade in May 2018.
Mark adds: “This is a huge step up for me, physically and psychologically. Using the buggy offers incredible fundraising possibilities for the rest of the Around the World Run and my main aim, as always, is how I can best help the two charities.
“Hopefully I can get everything in place to reassure everyone that this is feasible and safe. It’s something I believe in and can’t wait to get started.”
In July, Mark completed his 2,633 mile charity run across Europe accompanied by support team volunteers and a motor home. The run, sponsored by SOS Group Ltd., took 83 days and included both the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.
In total, including the money raised at the ball, the Europe run raised an incredible £53,909 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.
He has now run halfway around the world, 9,000 miles, including the length of the UK, the width of the USA, Australia and Europe.
Mark will now tackle the Serbia, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan leg (2018), then China (2020), Japan (2021) and New Zealand (2022) – all timings are approximate and dependent on his circumstances.
Run Geordie Run Around the World:
Mark Allison is a husband and father-of-one from Bedlington, Northumberland, who has set himself the phenomenal charity challenge of running 20,000 miles around the world.
Generous commercial sponsors have enabled Mark to raise additional charity funds through t-shirt sales and events as well as ensuring he is kitted out with the specialist equipment and footwear.
Mark’s challenge began, although he didn’t know it at that time, with his John O’Groats to Land’s End 874 mile run in 2007. He has also ‘ticked off’ the USA (2011/3,100 miles), Australia (2013/2,384 miles) and Europe (2016/2,633 miles), but still has approximately 11,000 miles to go.
For more information about Run Geordie Run Around the World please visit www.rungeordierun.com and follow Mark on Twitter @RunGeordieRun.
If you would like to donate to the two charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun.