Endurance runner and charity fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison is making final preparations for the next leg of his Around the World challenge – Europe.
Mark leaves the North East on Monday (25 April) and begins his 3,400 mile run to raise funds for The Children’s Foundation and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation on 1 May.
Thanks to sponsorship from SOS Group Ltd, he now has use of a large motor home, which will be home to Mark and his Support Team for the next 100 days as they make their way from Lisbon, Portugal, to Istanbul, Turkey.
Ensuring it is fully stocked with supplies is a priority this week and World Cup winner and Northumberland Tea Ambassador, Jack Charlton, called in to ensure Mark has enough tea to help keep him refreshed as he runs through 14 different countries.
Mark, who has previously run across the USA and Australia, was also joined by Lady Elsie who took the opportunity to inspect the motor home and wish him all the best for his big run.
Mark says: “We’ve been incredibly busy preparing for this run and the Support Team and sponsors have all been magnificent.
“This week in particular’s been hectic and it was a pleasure to take a breather and sit down with Jack and Lady Elsie to talk about the run.
“It was very kind of Jack to drop off a big bag of Northumberland Tea for us. It’s what I drink at home and I know it will take a lot of cups of tea to help me complete this run.”
The next segment of Mark’s incredible Around the World run is Lisbon to Istanbul – 3,400 punishing miles across mountain ranges and international borders. It is 300 miles longer than Mark’s USA charity run and will be completed in the same number of days.
Mark adds: “Preparation for this run has presented us with a very different set of challenges, not least because the route takes us through 14 different countries.
“The level of detail needed in the planning has been immense and I’m very lucky to have so many dedicated people giving up time to help.
“It’s been a long time in the planning but stocking the motor home this week is making this run seem very real.”
Jack Charlton is an Ambassador for Northumberland Tea and his face features on every box alongside the light-hearted slogan, ‘The best cup since 1966!’
A percentage of profits from the sale of Northumberland Tea is donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Jack says: “I really want to wish Mark the very best of luck for his run across Europe.
“He’s a good lad and I think what he is doing is incredible. He has my full support and I hope he can stay injury free. It’s going to be hard going.”
Lady Elsie also wished Mark good luck and says: “We’re extremely proud of Mark. He puts an amazing amount of effort into fundraising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation. I don’t know where he finds his energy.
“We’ll all be thinking of him during the run. It’s going to be incredibly hard physically and will take a huge amount of determination too.
“Thankfully, he has a great team around him to help keep him safe and we look forward to welcoming him home in August.”
Mark’s Around the World Run is the continuation of previous charity runs down the UK and across the USA and Australia and he is raising money for two chosen charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Generous commercial sponsors, including SOS Group Ltd, are enabling Mark to raise additional charity funds through t-shirt sales and events.
Like Mark, the Run Geordie Run Support Team consists entirely of unpaid volunteers who are taking time off work to join the challenge. Paying for their own travel expenses, they will 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.
Sponsors are also helping kit Mark out with the specialist equipment, dietary supplements and footwear required.
In addition to headline sponsor SOS Group Ltd, Mark is receiving support from Fresh Freight Group, Chapman Ventilation, Cherry Active, D-Line Cable Management, Brooks Running Shoes, Virgin Money and Sport Newcastle.
It will take Mark until at least 2022 to finish the Round the World challenge and he will have to do it in eight segments as family life, work and finances permit.
He will need to cover a total of 20,000 miles, over four continents and through 23 countries and it will take him approximately 608 days (1 year and 243 days) to complete.
His 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 13,642 miles to go.
The European leg brings its own set of challenges, not least running through 14 different countries. Mark will begin on 1 May in Lisbon, Portugal, and will finish 100 days and 3,400 miles later in Istanbul, Turkey, on 8 August. The run is 300 miles longer than the USA and will be completed in the same number of days.
The chosen route passes through Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey.
It includes both the Pyrenees and the Alps and will take in many huge climbs including the Stelvio Pass (9,045 feet) in the Italian Alps. It is a huge step up from his previous runs in terms of distance and elevation and, as well as mental, physical and logistical difficulties, there will be language and cultural barriers to overcome.
After Europe, Mark will tackle the Turkey, 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.