Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Day 39 - The pledges and the messages just keep on coming.

Despite the run finishing on Sunday, my inbox is continuing to be filled with congratulatory messages. Also, the pledges just keep on coming and coming. Thanks so much to everyone!

I'm finding it very difficult to wind down after the big run and will be continuing to run or go to the gym for some time to come. I always anticipated a period of de-training to bring me back down to earth. After a month or so, this phase of training will cease and I'll get back into the old routine of lunchtime and weekend running.

Training without any major focus or goal will be very strange. I suppose the goal now is to reduce my weight even further and perhaps enter some weekend runs in the region. Secretly though, I've got to start and give those Northern Rock runners a run for their money!

I've got a fitness assessment in the gym at 13:00 today. Hopefully, I'll see at least a 2 stone loss in fat weight and improvements in all other areas. Most importantly though, I've got a a PB of 16 press ups in a minute to try and beat!

Here are a further selection of emails received over the last few days:

Adam Cook (My mate and an exiled mackem in Jacksonville, USA) - "Just finished reading the closing entries on your blog. I know I am just echoing the hundreds of other messages you have received, but I just want to say how proud I am of you for this super human effort. I never knew your Mam, Dad and Brother and you've never really talked about them to me, but I do know they produced and raised a big-hearted and devoted son and brother and I'm sure somewhere they are brimming with pride at your efforts over the past 40 days.

I'm proud to be able to call you my mate Mark and look forward to hopefully sharing a beer or two with you in the not too distant future.

Enjoy your big day at St James next week. (Make sure you stretch. You don't want to pull a hammy in that massive 300 yard final leg).

Take care,


Dave Lynn (Queensland, Austrailia) - "Dear Mark, As an exiled Geordie I have followed your run via NUFC.com and I just wanted to thank you for an inspirational and emotional few weeks. Every day I have been following your journey from here in Australia. Whilst I cannot begin to imagine what your effort physically felt like I can sort of imagine what the messages of support and encouragement did for you and I can definitely imagine the feeling you will have on your lap of honour at the Villa game. I will be watching on Fox Sports and hope that there will be at least a glimpse of your lap. Enjoy it! No one deserves it more than you. The least they can do is make sure we get three points to go with it. That would make it a fitting tribute.

Cheers mate and well done.

Dave Lynn

Martin Scott (Watford) - "Mark, I don’t know how you did it! I kept an eye on your progress through your blog, and still can not believe how you managed to stay focused and determined for such a long period of time, over such a mammoth distance. I managed to complete the 26 mile breast cancer moon-walk during May, but my effort pales into near insignificance in comparison with what you have achieved over the last few weeks (not forgetting the massive amount of training required beforehand).

As an exiled Geordie in Watford, you have been a reminder of what it means to come from our part of the world. All your family and friends are lucky to know you, and you should be immensely proud of what you have just achieved.

Enjoy the welcome you so richly deserve when you get back home, and during your lap of honour at St. James’ Park on Saturday. I wish I could be there to congratulate you in person.

Congratulations, and enjoy the rest.

Martin Scott"

Craig Swallow (Warwickshire) - "Mark, I just wanted to add my congratulations to all of the other thousands of emails you must have received. I'm a runner also but I average a week what you have done each day for over a month. Its amazing that you have had the mental and physical will to continue and to finish with no injuries is just remarkable.

Like you I also lost my mum (and nan & grandpa) to cancer, she was 56. I started running to raise money, first for the Newcastle General who looked after her and subsequently for Cancer Research. I was never a runner at school, I preferred team sports. Somehow though, the memory of loved ones lost propel me along as they have clearly done for you. Your mum will be smiling down and be massively proud.

Enjoy Saturday, I'm an exile-mag and living in Warwickshire now. You need to get yourself a contact at the BBC before the weekend and make sure they show your lap of honour on MOTD!

Congrats again, put me down for a book if you do write one.

All the best


Chris Smith (Gibraltar) - "I am an exiled Geordie working in Gibraltar. I’ve already sent you one e-mail but I couldn’t resist sending another one.

What you’ve done is amazing. You have definitely inspired me (and no doubt many others) to get out training when I would rather have stayed in the house. What’s a 10km run when you are doing 40km a day?

Your attitude is a lesson to all of us and you deserve all the credit you get. You have made a difference to an amazing number of lives – not just with the money you have raised but in the way you have set about doing what you have just done. I have forwarded your website to all my friends here so they can see what I mean when I tell them Geordies are the salt of the earth.

Congratulations – you deserve all the praise and credit you will now receive.

Well done."

Chris Smith"