Thursday, 21 January 2016

Last support team slots

A great deal of planning and research has been done to fit the support team (pictured below) on the route across Europe and arrange to have them flown in and out of various destinations.

I'm pleased to report that there are at least 2 people on the team for 85% of the 3400 mile route from Lisbon to Istanbul. The other 15% sees only 1 person on the team. While that will serve as excellent coverage, ideally we need 2 people on the team for the entire route. As a consequence, I'm now looking to fill 2 slots on the team.

The first slot on duty is from Munich, Germany to Ljubljana, Slovenia. The date of this slot is from Sunday 3rd July to Monday 11th July. It promises to be a very picturesque part of the run across Europe with the route also passing through the Austrian cities of Salzburg and Villach. It's a 262 mile stretch of the route which is well served by major airports. 

The second slot is from Belgrade, Serbia to Sofia, Bulgaria. The date of this slot is from Thursday 21st July to Friday 29th July. This is a 228 mile stretch of the route which, again, is well served by major airports. 

Being a member of the Run Geordie Run Support Team is one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs there is..... or so any previous member of the team often tells me. Driving a large Motor Home (the one we had in the USA is pictured below), ensuring that, as the support nerve centre, it is functioning at the optimum level at all times, is just one of many tasks that needs to be undertaken.

Ensuring the safety of the runner, cooking, cleaning, identifying safe overnight stops, liaising with local police (inevitably a motor home in the middle of nowhere can be seemed as suspicious!), spreading the word about the run to passers by, not getting lost, ensuring that the route is safe depending on changing conditions and coming up with quick and effective solutions to whatever problem or hindrance occurs are just the tip of the iceberg when talking about support team duties. Support man Steve Harrison is pictured below driving in the USA.

The support team pay for their own flights and any accommodation (if needed) at the respective airport. Accommodation is provided en route, obviously in the form of the RV.

There are a whole host of pictures of the previous support teams on the Run Geordie Run Facebook page here.

If you would like to apply to be on the team then please fill out the form below. Please feel free to email any questions to

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Return to Oz

The next segment of the run around the world will start in just 147 days time. In preparation for the 3400 mile run across Europe from Lisbon to Istanbul I've recently undertaken a few testing training runs. What is to come, however, will provide a really tough test and give me a good indication of how well my training is going and how well prepared I am for next year's epic run through 14 European countries.  

I recently managed to run 5 half marathons in a week. The first was done on my favourite route across 6 of the Tyne Bridges. Support man Carlton kept me company for that one and it presented no problems at all. The next 2 were up in Glencoe Scotland where it absolutely lashed down with rain. The conditions were miserable but, again, no problems were encountered.

The final 2 half marathons were from Aviemore up to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway (pictured below) in freezing conditions. This route was the steepest that I'd ran for a very long time. The scenery was incredible and this really helped the miles pass by quickly. I'm hoping the same will be said in Europe next year.

So on to the next training challenge. I can think of no better or worse place to do this than in Australia. The sheer thought of pounding the roads that caused my feet so much damage in searing temperatures surrounded by thousands of flies fills me with absolute dread. The plan is to travel to Australia just before Christmas and attempt to run 250 miles during the 2.5 weeks that I'm there. It's an unrealistic target of miles but then again so is the 3400 miles in Europe to be run in just 100 days. If I manage to hit that target then the rewards for fitness and confidence will be massive.

Training in Australia will give me an opportunity to test out a number of things. Firstly, the insole that was specially created by Podiatrist Alison Meldrum at The Cradlewell Clinic. I've been wearing it in my right shoe for the last 4 months. It corrects my running style and makes me a neutral runner again following my ankle break in 2010. I'll be testing a larger than usual pair of Brooks Glycerin running shoes. I've gone half a size up which should help with blisters when my feet inevitably swell in the heat and due to the high mileage. Finally, I have various types of socks to try out. Choosing the correct type of socks for the run across Europe is massively important.

So that's how I'll be spending my Christmas and New Year. It's pretty much how I spent that same period back in 2013 when I approached the final stage of the run across Australia. As per usual, I'll be keeping my Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram feeds up to date. So watch this space for details of progress down under. Please take time to watch the video below which is a reminder of how tough my Return to Oz is going to be.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

We had a ball!

The Around The World Ball was held at The Biscuit Factory last Saturday and it can only be described as a huge success for Run Geordie Run, The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The ball was hosted by BBC Newcastle's Gary Philipson and Lisa Shaw and backed by a team of volunteers from The Children's Foundation. The sell out crowd contained Lady Elsie Robson, Dr Martin Ward-Platt from The Children's Foundation, sponsors, friends, family as well as people I'd never met before. One thing I did notice was that almost everyone I spoke to knew someone from another party who they hadn't seen since school/used to work with/was an old next door neighbour of.... I could go on. It was a most unusual situation with a huge number of people seemingly connected in some way. As I later found out, Dr Martin Ward-Platt was to thank for treatment to one of my support team's family's premature baby.

Gary and Lisa did a brilliant job of hosting the night and they were on very good form. It was great to see them working together again as, of course, they now have their own separate shows on the BBC. The pair's interaction with the guests was hilarious and we all had such a good laugh. You just knew that a bald man would win the posh hairdressing prize!  

The evening was filled with various opportunities to win prizes such as an Apple iPad Air, a Links of London bracelet, a rare bottle of whiskey, various hospitality packages, signed memorabilia and so much more.

The formalities kicked off with a reminder of why we were all there. The following video was shown.

After a hilarious version of Heads and Tails, we tucked into a specially designed 3 course meal with hints of Chinese, French and Turkish cooking. The food was by far the best I've ever had at an event of this size. The feedback we've had since has been in keeping with my thoughts. A huge well done to the Biscuit Factory. I've got to say that this came as no surprise as the Ball Committee were fully aware of what the venue was capable of.

I addressed the audience after dinner and spoke of my motivation for running around the world and what the charities meant to me. This part of the evening also allowed me to say thank you to my support team, sponsors and of course Donna.

Before the auction started, the following video was shown.

Our auction raised a huge amount. There were some tremendous bids for our very impressive line up of goods donated by SOS Group Ltd, Jury's Inn, Virgin Money to name but a few.

The final part of the evening saw local band Tiny Afro take to the stage to entertain the guests with hits from The Jam, Killers, Kings of Leon and many more.

The final total raised on the night was a very pleasing £8,223.17. Thanks to everyone who attended and gave so generously.

The Around The World Ball helped to get the overall Charity Fund very close to the landmark of a quarter of a million pounds. After 11 months of fundraising, the total for the European campaign currently stands at £27,082.49. It took me until day 52 of the run across Australia to hit that figure! Thank you to everyone for their continued support.

We are already looking forward to the next Ball on October 8th 2016 to celebrate reaching Istanbul and the half way point around the world. Watch this space at the end of October for details of how you can buy tickets at a special early bird price.

In the meantime, photos from the Around The World ball can be viewed below.

In aid of The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at The Biscuit Factory Newcastle,

Sunday, 4 October 2015


I'm pleased to announce that there are no tickets left for the Run Geordie Run "Around The World" Ball. The fundraiser, in aid of The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation, will take place at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle on Saturday October 10th 2015 from 6pm.

We are honoured to have as our special guests, Lady Elsie Robson and Dr Martin Ward-Platt from the charities.

The ball will be hosted by BBC Radio Newcastle's Sony Gold Award winning duo Gary and Lisa and musical entertainment will be provided by the superb party band; "Tiny Afro". There will be the usual host of games, raffles and auctions. Although many of them with a twist and not your usual charity ball fare. Previous attendees will know that the quality of the food at The Biscuit Factory is second to none and we have created a unique "Around The World" themed menu.

The charity fund is currently hurtling towards the quarter of a million pound mark. It will be interesting to see how close we can get to it on the evening of the Around The World Ball.

The last Run Geordie Run charity ball in 2011 was a complete sell out and I can't thank everyone enough for making this one a success too. If you're lucky enough to have a ticket, I'll see you next week for a fun filled evening of fundraising. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

New commemorative Australia technical t-shirt

Sales of Run Geordie Run t-shirts have raised over £25,000 since they first went on sale in 2009 for local good causes. I'm pleased to announce that there is now a new one available to buy in aid of The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  

Following on from the recently sold out Europe t-shirt, this latest design, by Dave at Shenton Creative, commemorates the 3rd of my 8 segments of the run around the world; Australia.

The design, printed on technical fabric (ideal to wear in the gym or out running), proudly carries The Children's Foundation and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation logos as well as the Run Geordie Run Around The World logos on the front. The rear of the t-shirt shows the 2384 mile route across Australia from Perth to Shellharbour. T-Shirts are £12 each.

Thanks to my sponsor Chapman Ventilation for paying for production of the t-shirts, ALL PROCEEDS from t-shirt sales will go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation.

Look out for similar designs in the future for each segment of the run Around the World. In the meantime, commemorative Australia technical t-shirts can be ordered below.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Europe 2016 Support Team finalised

I'm very pleased to report that with just less than 8 months to go until the run across Europe starts, I now have a full support team. It's a hugely strong team of individuals from many different walks of life. 

Amongst the ranks we have a software tester, company director, forensic scientist, podiatrist, project manager, personal trainer, sports therapist, software developer and both current and retired police officers (including a 1st responder).

It's a mixed bunch but a quality bunch. Of that I'm sure. 5 of the 15 strong team have previous experience on tour. Carlton and Dave were with me in the USA and Australia. Donna and Jason were with me in Australia. Steve was with me in the USA.

I spent approximately 15 hours over the recent bank holiday weekend working on the support team plan for Europe. This involved putting support team names against each day of the run across Europe. One moment saw me working on the plan and another saw me contacting each of the team to check and double check their availability. 

Since the plan was created things have really fallen into place. I only had 11 team members at the time so there were a few "tbc" in the plan. I'm very relieved that the plan contains the full compliment of 15 names. 

There will be 2 people on the team at any one time and the support rota is as follows. The run starts in Lisbon with Jimmy and Donna on duty. They will see me all the way to the Spanish border at Vigo where Andrew and Phil will take over. Patrick will take over from Andrew and join Phil in Dijon. They will then both leave the tour in St Jean Pied de Port when Alison and Dave will see me through the Pyrenees to Andorra. Malcolm and Nickela will then take over and hand over to Jason and Louise on Mont Ventoux. Giles will join Louise and take over from Jason in Turin. They will stay on the tour until Munich where Steve and Dave (for a 2nd stint) arrive. Phil will arrive for a 2nd stint with Richard in Ljubljana, Slovenia. They will take over from Steve and Dave. Donna and Carlton will then take over in Belgrade and will be joined by Jimmy for a 2nd stint in Sofia. The 3 of them will stay on the tour all the way until the finish in Istanbul. They will be joined by Andrew for a 2nd stint in Greece. Donna will fly back to the UK the day after the run finishes and it will be up to Carlton, Andrew and Jimmy to drive the RV to Amsterdam before we set sail for Port of Tyne! Phew! I hope you kept up there!

I'll talk more about the individuals in the team in the coming months. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to getting the team together on the 27th September for our 2nd team meeting at The Jury's Inn on Gateshead Quayside.