Saturday, 18 October 2014

Run Geordie Run Support Team News

Last week I reported that recruitment for the 2016 Support Team had begun with Carlton Fletcher signing up for what will be his 3rd stint of duty after runs across the USA and Austrailia. This week I'm pleased to report that Jason Stobbs (pictured below) has agreed to support me during the 2016 run. Jason is a Sports Therapist and was a huge asset on the team in Australia for 3 weeks on the Nullarbor.

Jason and I agreed that, given the task ahead in 2016, we will have to make use of his services in a timely and prudent fashion. I get the feeling that the 2016 run is going to become very tactical and Jason's time on the team will be a big part of that.

As well as his driving and Sports Therapy skills, like Carlton, Jason brings a wicked sense of humour to the team. It was humour that got us through 3 weeks in the Nullarbor. I did tend to take the micky out of him a lot in Australia but it served as the foundation for some brilliantly funny but very tough times. The #stobbsytales hashtag became popular on Twitter. It was used to highlight some of the trivial yet amusing goings on as we crossed the Nullarbor.
I remember one thread going something like this:
  • "Half marathon done. Deficit down to 92 miles. Time for one of @jasonstobbs omelettes."
  • "@jasonstobbs thinks this could be "the best omelette yet." #stobbsytales"
  • "I'm letting @jasonstobbs use some of the eggs to make an omelette for himself. I'm not normally this generous to the team. #stobbsytales".
  • "@jasonstobbs omelette is sticking to the pan. "Oh, I'll just have scrambled egg then". #stobbsytales".
Jason had the following to say about signing up for 2016: "Stobbsys back! I didn't want to let the public down as I knew everyone wants more #stobbsystales so when asked if I would support on the next run I couldn't say no! 

On a serious note I loved supporting Mark in Australia as hard as it was (maybe not as hard as running across a country, but nearly!) I learnt a lot supporting the last time and will take all that experience with me and hopeful do as good a job if not better!".

Thank you to Jason for again agreeing to give up his time in support of the 2016 run and the 2 charities.

I'm sure you will agree, that the 2016 campaign has got off to a flying start. Progress with the acquisition of commercial sponsors and recruitment of support team members has been brilliant. 

I'm going to be telling the world exactly what my plans are on Wednesday morning. I'm going to be doing that with a lot of confidence and also the realisation that there is another long and difficult journey ahead. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Cradlewell Clinic supporting the 2016 run

Following recent announcements about the growth of my commercial sponsorship base (Cherry Active, Chapman Ventilation and Sport Newcastle) and the 2016 Support Team (Carlton Fletcher), I received some further good news today.  

I'm pleased to reveal that The Cradlewell Clinic will once again be providing much needed clinical help and expertise for the in 2016. Alison Meldrum, the podiatrist at the clinic (pictured with me below), was responsible for bringing my feet back to full health after both the run across the USA in 2011 and Australia in 2013. 

Alison is well known to the running community in the North East. She has diagnosed and fixed countless running injuries and ailments over the years in her well established clinic located in Jesmond. She will not only be putting right any damage caused in 2016 but will be taking preventative steps before the event to make sure that we do not see a repeat of the horrific state of my feet while in Australia.

Given the huge mileage ahead, it's safe to say that Alison has her work cut out! I genuinely mean it when I think that I'm in some of the best hands in the business. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that the chances of success in 2016 are increased 10 fold thanks to Alison at The Cradlewell Clinic.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Sport Newcastle supporting the 2016 run

All of my running events, up to and including the run across the USA in 2011, were paid for out of my own pocket. I couldn't afford to fund another event, so the USA was always going to be my last charitable run. However, £105,233 was raised as a result of that run and I felt that I owed it to the 2 charities to try and have another go at raising £50,000 (my original USA target) in Australia in 2013.

The run across Australia would simply not have been possible without the backing of commercial sponsorship which was used for flights, RV motorhome hire, fuel, insurance, nutrition products and kit. Through some incredible generosity, that run saw another £56,126.60 raised for charity.

There has been so much incredible support of Run Geordie Run and the 2 charities via commercial sponsorship to date. It continued today with Sport Newcastle becoming the 3rd sponsor to back me for the 2016 run. Now a registered charity, "Sport Newcastle was created from the former Newcastle upon Tyne Sports Council and offers funding and support to men, women and children seeking to realise their sporting dream.".

As was the case in Australia, Sport Newcastle's funding will allow me to buy the kit that I will be using during the run in 2016. The Sport Newcastle logo can be clearly seen in the image below during the final few moments of the 3100 mile run across the USA. It will be a privilege once again to carry the logo on my shirt over the thousands of miles that I'll be running in 2016.

I'm not the usual kind of "athlete" supported by Sport Newcastle. I am therefore very grateful for their support which allows me, in turn, to attempt to raise thousands for charity.

Sport Newcastle said "Sport Newcastle are delighted to be able to support Mark on his 2016 challenge. Mark is such a fantastic ambassador for the North East and once again we are proud to be associated with him. Everybody at Sport Newcastle wish Mark all the very best of luck in his 2016 endeavours and we are sure that two great causes in the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Children’s Foundation will continue to benefit from his efforts.".

Sport Newcastle have now joined Chapman Ventilation and Cherry Active as sponsors for the run in 2016. The commercial backing that I've received so far is helping to lay the foundations to make the run in 2016 another success. Together, we are within touching distance of raising a quarter of a million pounds for good causes in the region. 

The announcement of the 2016 run is now less than 2 weeks away. Invites will be sent out to the media and sponsors next week to attend a very special announcement event in a very special venue. These are very exciting times for me and I'm looking forward to sharing the details of what promises to be another amazing and unprecedented fundraising event.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Run Geordie Run 2016 Support Team news

The man who once said "never again” after supporting my run across the USA and subsequently went on to support my run across Australia has signed up for a 3rd stint on the Run Geordie Run support team for the 2016 run.

I'm absolutely delighted to announce that Carlton Fletcher, pictured below during the run across Australia, will be supporting me once again. Carlton brings a wealth of support experience and, arguably more importantly, a tremendous sense of humour to the team. He knows exactly how I operate, what my thought process is and what motivates me during these major endurance events.

Carlton is a very innovative quick thinker and not a bad cook, photographer, mechanic and driver to boot. It is these kinds of attributes which have helped us get out of many difficult situations in the USA and Australia.  To this day, I don't know how he managed to get a 36ft motor home through the busy roads of New York to the finish line at Coney Island in 2011.

Carlton knows how to operate an RV motor home and can be seen below using the last of the water to do the dishes when I needed a shower! As I said, he has a tremendous sense of humour! Oh how we laughed in Australia when I hadn't showered for 4 days. We had very clean dishes though!


Carlton's skills don't stop there. Over the years he has been involved in supporting my fundraising activities too. He has been responsible for raising thousands of pounds for the charities since he has been on the support team. His last fundraising efforts saw him "dress up" and run a marathon on one of the scorching hot days in Australia. He raised £1300 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation as a result. I dread to think what he might do in 2016!

There are many funny stories that I could add about Carlton's time on the Support Team but that would probably be for a book rather than a blog post. In the meantime, Carlton's account of the final hours of the run across the USA can be seen here.

When pushed for comment Carlton said that I could use one of the following quotes. I've published them all for completeness!

"He makes me do it. He also takes my dinner money."
"Helping mark, is like helping a small needy child."
"Despite saying I would never do that again, the reality is I just can't get enough of it."
"What Mark does is inspirational, and helping him fills me with warm happy feelings."
"It gets me away from the family for a couple of weeks."
"It's a small sacrifice to help the enormous sacrifice that Mark makes for such brilliant causes."
"It's truly satisfying to help Mark make a difference. The difficult living conditions, continual abuse, pain and suffering that the support team face for a couple of weeks, pales into insignificance compared to the good that Mark's chosen charities bring to ordinary people on a daily basis."

Whatever his reasons for his amazing continued support, I'm very grateful to Carlton for volunteering his time and money to help the 2016 run become a success. And that, at the end of the day, is exactly what he is; a volunteer. He spends time away from his family (I've not heard them complain yet), pays for his own flights and accommodation and is a member of a team making a huge difference to the local community. Without such volunteers there would be no running down the UK or across the USA or Australia and no charitable funds raised. Thanks Carlton!

Monday, 6 October 2014

Chapman Ventilation supporting the 2016 run

I'm very pleased to report that Chapman Ventilation will be joining the recently announced Cherry Active as a sponsor for the next major run in 2016. Regular readers will be aware that both of them are former sponsors and were hugely supportive during the run across Australia in 2013.

Chapman Ventilation are "one of the UK's leading HVAC contractors for the restaurant industry. With clients such as Nando's, Jamie's Italian and Hawksmoor". During the run across Australia they were the sponsor of the daily weather updates (shown below) seen on the Run Geordie Run Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

I'm aware that Chapman Ventilation do a lot of good charity work within the company already and I'm very grateful that they have chosen to continue their support of Run Geordie Run, The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation.

A couple of years ago, together with their sister company Sirius Products, they supported Sir Ranulph Fiennes and his team in their attempt to cross Antarctica on foot during Winter! They "designed, developed and fabricated stainless-steel sinks, urinals and glove racks for use throughout the expedition, all of which required significant planning and research in order to develop a product able to withstand such extreme conditions.".

Chapman Ventilation had the following to say: "Here at Chapman Ventilation, we are consistently taken aback by Mark's determination and the lengths he's gone to to raise money for such worthwhile causes. Just the thought of flying across Australia is enough to tire us out. Because of this, and because David and Anthony Chapman are both stalwart Newcastle fans, we're delighted to announce that we will be sponsoring his 2016 challenge. Good luck Mark, we'll be rooting for you! ".

I'd like to say a huge thank you to David and the kind folks at Chapman Ventilation for their continued support. Without it, just like the support from Cherry Active, there would be no run in 2016 and no shot at reaching the 1/4 million pound milestone for local charities.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Give us a clue!

It is no exaggeration to say that hardly an hour of my waking life goes by without someone asking me   what the location of the next run is. There have been many guesses and some people have been close to the exact location recently.

The announcement of the location of the 2016 run in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation will be made during the week commencing the 13th of October. I visited a venue in Newcastle this week and I'm hoping to get the go-ahead next week to use it to announce the details of the 2016 run. The media, my sponsors, the charities and various key people will be present at the event. Inevitably, the exact details of the announcement will hit the internet, TV and papers soon thereafter. It's a very exciting time indeed.

For a bit of fun and to help the countdown to the announcement go a little quicker I've started putting picture based clues on the Run Geordie Run Facebook page. A new image will appear every day at 8pm. A guess can be left in the comments section of any daily image. Now here's the good news - A correct guess will be rewarded with a brand new Run Geordie Run 2016 t-shirt. If, in the unlikely event of a tie, a winner will be drawn at random by a representative of the 2 charities. Here's what you need to do to be eligible for entering the competition:
  • Leave your guess in the comments section of the daily picture clue.
  • LIKE and SHARE that day's daily picture clue.
  • You are allowed only 1 guess per daily picture clue.
  • You must LIKE the Run Geordie Run Facebook Page when the competition closes at 8pm on the 16th of October.
So a few simple rules should see one clever winner with the new Run Geordie Run 2016 t-shirt. So, what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Run Geordie Run Facebook Page and have a go.