Sunday, 12 August 2007

Day 37 - To absent friends.

After 847 miles and 36 days of running my heart out I stand just 26 miles from the ultimate goal that is Lands End. The general theme of the messages I'm getting is that I must remain focused. Rest assured, that I remain nothing but focused.

Despite the obvious joy that will be felt at the end, this is also a time for an element of remembrance and to pay tribute.

I dedicate today's final day to the memory of my parents, who both died as a result of cancer at the ages of 57 and 67 respectively. I also dedicate today to my brother David, who died with a brain tumour at the age of 34.

Finally, I also dedicate today's run to my Uncle John who died as a result of cancer. They are all sadly missed by a great many people. Running in their memory has been my primary motivation as I have battled the hills, the wind, the rain, the heat, injuries, blisters and exhaustion over the last 36 days.

I would like to pay tribute to the staff of St Benedict's Hospice who ensured that my Mam had a dignified end to her life and to this day continue to provide invaluable care to terminally ill people. I look forward to handing over a hefty cheque in September at the presentation evening.

I would like to pay tribute to all of those people who have backed me while training for this run as well as during it. The response from the Geordie public, both at home and those in exile, has been amazing. I wouldn't be in such good shape without that encouragement. The boys Niall and Biffa at NUFC.COM were the catalysts for the majority of this support and I'll never be able to thank them enough.

Finally, I'll also never be able to thank my wife and 4 year old son, Katy and Jack, enough for their support over the last 18 months and during this run in particular.

Anyway, back to business. I've got an ultra ultra mega marathon to complete. The route today takes me from Camborne on the A30 all the way to Lands End. The plan is yet again to start out steady and then, when the time is right, finish the run off in spectacular style with a bit of pace.

I'll leave this morning's closing words to Barry Wilkie.

"Hi mark ,

Today is the first anniversary of my father's death in a Barnsley hospice. I know as an exiled Geordie he would have been so proud of the hospice movement and of your great effort on their behalf, as of course I am. My family including 7 grandchildren have been following you since day one. We will be having a barbie tomorrow all together with computer refreshing every 1/2 hour with your great finale. See you at the Aston Villa match. I will be the one in black and white stripes cheering you on.

Regards Barry Wilkie once of Dunston"