In April, Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison left his native North East to begin his journey to Portugal – and the start line for his 2,650 mile charity run across Europe.
Today, (28th July) the software developer from Bedlington, Northumberland, returned home having raised £42,520 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.
His European run, sponsored by SOS Group Ltd., was 2,650 miles and 83 days long and included both the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges.
Beginning in Lisbon, Portugal, Mark ran around 38 miles a day and finished in Belgrade, Serbia, on Friday (22 July).
He is happy to be back on home soil, looking forward to seeing his son, Jack, and says his achievements haven’t really sunk in yet.
Mark says: “I’m not at the point where I can relax properly yet.
“It’s hard to explain how strange it feels when I wake up each morning. For weeks and weeks, all I’ve known is eat, sleep, run, so I’m having to adjust to the ‘real world’ again.
“No doubt things will begin to feel more normal when I get home. I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and have a shower that works. Some home comforts will be very welcome.
“The Europe run was a huge effort and far harder than I thought it would be. Not just for me, for the fantastic volunteer support team too.
“I’m proud to have successfully completed the run, which at times wasn’t 100 per cent likely to happen. It’s been tremendously hard and I couldn’t have done it without all the donations and messages of support I’ve received.”
This run was the latest leg in Mark’s Run Geordie Run Around the World challenge, which has raised over £250,000 for charities to date.
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.
The European leg took him through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia. The end was originally Istanbul but, because of the situation in Turkey, Mark finished in Belgrade.
Belgrade now gives Mark the option to run north or south of the Black Sea when he starts the next stage of his Around the World Run, hopefully in 2018, which will go through Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan (ending in Astana).
Mark adds: “The welcome and support we got in Belgrade was just amazing.
“There was a ‘finish line’ of children who are being helped by a local charity and then the British Ambassador to Serbia let me have a bath at the Embassy. And I’ll be the first to admit I really needed to bathe.
“We met some amazing people on our travels and I’ll have plenty of stories to share at our charity ball in October.
“It’s been a privilege to experience so many different European countries in such an usual way. I’d like to go back to visit them again when I’m on an actual holiday though.
“For now, I’ll be going back to work and winding down, physically, but I’m already planning the next run. It’s probably too soon to admit that in front of my wife though.”
On behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Lady Elsie says: “I hope Mark is very proud of what he’s achieved with this run. He really should be.
“We’re all very proud of him. It’s an absolutely marvellous achievement.
“We’re lucky to have Mark as a supporter of our work and very grateful to him and everyone who’s helped him along the way.
“I don’t know where he finds the energy to run so far. It’s simply amazing. And we’ll make sure every penny donated to us through Mark’s running is used in the very best way possible.”
Jonathan Clegg from The Children’s Foundation says: “We’re all so proud of Run Geordie Run completing his latest challenge and it’s an honour to have him as our ambassador.
“Mark has raised an exceptional amount over the years for The Children’s Foundation, and to raise over £40,000 for the two charities throughout Europe alone is a fantastic achievement.
“The money raised will support children and young people here in the North East and will help us to tackle the distress, disability and disadvantage they face. It will not only enable us to continue our current projects, but helps us to engage with the wider community.”
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.
His headline sponsor is UK-based office technology and services company, SOS Group Ltd., and Mark is also receiving support from Fresh Freight Group, Chapman Ventilation, Cherry Active, D-Line Cable Management, Brooks Running Shoes, Virgin Money and Sport Newcastle.
These generous commercial sponsors are enabling 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 he will need.
He is helped by the Run Geordie Run Support Team who, like Mark, are unpaid volunteers taking time off work to join the challenge.
Paying for their own travel expenses, they accompany and support Mark each day, helping him cope with the physical and mental pressures and providing vital encouragement as the miles take their toll.
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 already ‘ticked off’ the USA (2011) and Australia (2013), 3,100 miles and 2,384 miles respectively, but still has approximately 13,000 miles to go.
The European leg brought its own set of challenges, not least running through 11 different countries.
Mark began on 1 May in Lisbon, Portugal, and finished 83 days and 2,650 miles later in Belgrade, Serbia, on 22 July 2016.
The chosen route passed through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Serbia.
It included both the Pyrenees and the Alps and took in many huge climbs (15 Tour de France and one Giro d’Italia climbs) including the Stelvio Pass (9,045 feet) in the Italian Alps.
After Europe, Mark will tackle the Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan leg (2018), then China (2020), Japan (2021) and New Zealand (2022) – all timings are approximate and dependent on Mark’s circumstances.
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.