Thursday, 30 December 2010

Happy New Year

As 2010 comes to a close, I'd like to wish all readers a happy new year and all the best for 2011.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge

As I try and improve my video editing skills ahead of the run across the USA here is a short video from the run back in November 2010.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Thanks (Part 7)

Thanks to everybody who has made a donation, bought a t-shirt, bought or downloaded a CD. £20,325.34 has been raised so far.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Thanks (Part 10)

Thanks to Tim Readman and Alan Millen (aka The Exiles) for the production of the 2 Run Geordie Run songs available to download here.

Thanks (Part 9)

Thanks to Gary Hogg for producing the Run Geordie Run cartoon that appeared in The Journal and The Mag.

Thanks (Part 8)

Thanks to Superkrush Films for producing the first in a series of promotional videos. The first of which can be viewed below.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thanks (Part 6)

Thanks to for their continuing support, advice, help with publicity and for paying for the production of a batch of Run Geordie Run t-shirts.

Thanks (Part 5)

Thanks to the Northern Rock Foundation for their donation to the 2 charities.

Thanks (Part 4)

Thanks to Peter's Pies for their donation to the 2 charities and for supplying me with lots of tasty pastry based treats!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Run Geordie Run says thank you

Well then! Another year is almost at an end which means it's time to say thank you to those kind folk who have helped Run Geordie Run and the 2 charities. Over the next few days, you'll find the blog filled up with posts saying thanks to various folk. Their help and support os very much appreciated.

Thanks (Part 3)

Thanks to Brooks for the supply of shoes and training kit.

Thanks (Part 2)

Thanks to Northern Runner for sponsoring and making a donation to the 2 charities.

Thanks (Part 1)

Many thanks to Paddy Power for sponsoring my "Bionic Ankle" and making a donation to the 2 charities.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow joke!

I've been checking for references to my run along the A696 and A68 in a Santa outfit on Twitter. I found this gem from @OliverCoats:

The roadside interview with Jonathan Miles

Many thanks to BBC Newcastle's Jonathan Miles for risking life and limb to interview me on the A696 just south of Belsay on Thursday afternoon.

The full interview can be heard HERE.

There is also an online article HERE.

Ho ho homeward bound

Common sense has prevailed today and it's without any regret that I inform you that Santa is on his way home.

I'm writing this from the warm comfort of the car amidst spectacular scenery in Northumberland.

It's been an amazing incident packed and very challenging couple of days. I'm so pleased that I gave it a try as running with this wintery scenery as a backdrop has been an absolute pleasure.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Ho ho hot bath!

What a fantastic day of running! Despite the sub zero temperatures, running through North Northumberland and into Scotland via Carter Bar was a true Winter Wonderland experience.

For the second day in a row the mileage was cut short in the interests of safety. I had managed 18.8 bitterly cold miles before Run Geordie Run supporter Tom Moffitt stopped and offered to give me a lift to Jedburgh. With both the light and temperature fading I gladly accepted the offer. Thanks Tom.

I'm now at the hotel where a hot meal is about 30 minutes away and I've just had a hot bath. Despite the bath tub being Hobbit size (sorry Ian and Mike), it was definitely in my top 5 baths ever! There was even Superdrug shower gel (other brands are available!).

This run has certainly had it's fair share of challenges. Running with no support, a lack of roadside eating places, snow, black ice, lows of minus 5 (so far), carrying all my stuff in a heavy backpack, water freezing up. I could go on. I'm very glad I've given it a shot though. I'm also very glad that I'll have a support team next year in the USA!!

I can't go without mentioning the tremendous support from all the drivers who waved, stuck thumbs up, stopped to ask "what the hell" I was doing and gave Santa a wide berth on the roads these last 2 days.

Ironically, my hotel room has a painting of the start point of this run (pictured). I'll decide where the end point will be later on once I've had a good look at the forecast.

For now, I'm quietly smiling inside at having managed to run 46.8 miles in these conditions unsupported.
Right! Time for that hot meal!

Ho ho hose frozen

As I predicted the pipe in my hydration pack has frozen. Carrying 3 separate bottles was a good idea after all despite the extra weight.

18.5 miles done and starting to get colder.


15.5 done. It's a new definition of cold up here at Carter Bar. I'm going to enjoy the downhill bit now. Ho ho ho.

Come to Santa's Grotto

Santa's Grotto for the next 10 minutes is a bus shelter in Byrness Village. On the menu is a near frozen energy bar and Powerade.

It has been slow going this morning where my bit of the road has usually been covered with ice. I've also spent a lot of time on the narrow stretches stepping off the road to allow the cars, vans and HGVs to pass.

10 miles have been done so far. Carter Bar is 5.5 miles away then it's downhill(ish) to Jedburgh. This picture is my view from the makeshift Grotto.

Santa on the run

Thanks to Tom Moffett for stopping off on his way to Scotland to take this picture.

Ho ho hotel donation

Thanks to the Butterchurn Guest House in Otterburn for donating the room charge to the charity fund. Much appreciated.

It's 0930 and 13 miles to Carter Bar. It's freezing up here but at least I've only got 26 miles to run and not the scheduled 39.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Evening Officer!

I finished running this evening in dark and icy conditions 4 miles short of Otterburn. Northumbria Police had reports of a car crash as well as some chap dressed in Santa on the A696. Putting 2 and 2 together, one kind police officer decided to search for that chap who was "probably on his way to a Christmas party dressed as Santa".

The officer found me and recommended that I should run no further due to the worsening conditions. So it was a police escort finish for this particular Santa.

We had a giggle in the car about it and I brought him up to speed with all things Run Geordie Run. So it was an unplanned 28 mile day for me today. The final few hours in the dark were some of the coldest temperatures I've ever ran in.
I've had a good look at the forecast for the next 2 days and in the interests of my safety I'm cutting tomorrow's mileage down to 26. That will mean finishing in Jedburgh instead of Melrose.

Getting to Edinburgh in 3 days is now no longer a possibility or even a necessity for that matter. This is something I discussed with my mentor, Dave Fairlamb, the other day and I'm prepared for this "failure".
I'll make a decision on Saturday's mileage when I finish running tomorrow.

It's been quite a day, ending up with an appearance on the local news. I would have missed it, if it wasn't for the lift from one of Northumbria's finest.

The smiles and waves directed at me, throughout the day, will live long in the memory. As will the journey made by Mr and Mrs Allen to drop a fiver sponsor money off.

The roadside radio interview I gave to Jonathan Miles will be on his show tomorrow morning on BBC Newcastle. 

It's been a great PR day for Run Geordie Run today. There's certainly been some good material created for a book. Watch this space in January for more news on that.

In the meantime, I'll sign off from this cosy little B&B in Otterburn. I'm hoping for a fairly incident free day tomorrow. Bring on the mighty Carter Bar!

Santa on the BBC

Just been stopped by Jonathan Miles from BBC Newcastle. The interview will be on tomorrow morning's show.

In other news, lots of encouragement from passing cars and lorries is really helping to take my mind off these freezing conditions.

Ho ho hold the front page

I've just been stopped by a reporter from Tyne Tees. There's a good chance that you'll be seeing Santa on the local 6pm news tonight.

News also reaches me that I've been mentioned on BBC Radio Newcastle too.

25 left

Ho ho here we go

The 107.1 mile run from Newcastle to Edinburgh got underway at 0825 in snowy conditions. More from Santa later.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Run Santa Run!

It looks like snow is forecast during the 107.1 mile run from Newcastle to Edinburgh this week. At least I'll be dressing appropriately! The only worry I have currently have is the fact that I'll be having a curry at the work's Christmas so the night before! 

Kick off time from the Keep in Newcastle is 8am on Thursday.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Back to Edinburgh!

Next week, weather permitting, I will be running the route of the recently successful Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge.

This time out, however, I will be starting in Newcastle early on Thursday morning and finishing the 107.1 mile route in Edinburgh on Saturday evening.

I was going to leave it until January before trying this particular route again but I feel that next week is an ideal opportunity to attempt the run as well as start my Christmas shopping in Edinburgh!

I think I would be foolish not to take advantage of the predicted break in snowy conditions. You never know what might happen in January and I want at least another dozen attempts at these kinds of distances before USA 2011.

I'll be looking to run this one slightly quicker than last time (33:16:50 in total). No pressure though! I'll also be looking for a greater showing of mental strength on day 2. That's the tough day when I'll be covering 39 miles from Otterburn to Melrose via Carter Bar and Jedburgh.

Unlike the last 107.1 mile effort back in November, I will be largely unsupported and will be running this one solo. Mrs Run Geordie Run and Run Geordie Run Jr will be joining me for a bite to eat in Otterburn on Thursday night and I'll see them again on Saturday afternoon as I approach Edinburgh. Other than that, I'm very much on my own. I'll be carrying one hydration backpack and I'll be giving lots of careful thought as to how much kit and supplies I should carry as well as the 2.5 litres of water every day.

All in all this one has the makings of a very tough challenge. The route from last month is still fresh in my mind so I know exactly what I'm up against.

I'm kind of looking forward to being self sufficient for the majority of the 3 days. There's no Team Run Geordie Run for this one. The 2 Hobbits (Ian and Mike) and support man Carlton and his banter will be a big miss. They were all smashing company to have back in November.

So day 1 will be 31.8 miles from Newcastle Keep, through Ponteland, Belsay and up to Otterburn. There will be 1700ft of climb and 1300ft of descent. I hope to reach the B&B at about 7pm and have enough time to get a quick shower before the aforementioned bite to eat with the family.

Day 2 will require an earlier than usual start from Otterburn. The A68 will take me up to Carter Bar, Jedburgh, Newtown St Boswells and on to Melrose. It's 39 miles in total. Unsurprisingly, there will be 2300ft of climb and 2500ft of descent. This was a 12 hour day last time out. I must look to get this down to 11 hours on the day. The only chance to replenish my stocks during this day will be in Jedburgh. Unless, of course, the burger van is parked up at Carter Bar!

Day 3 will be a slightly later start from Melrose where there are plenty of shops in which to stock up with provisions. It's a steep start to the day but I hope to be in Stow in time for lunch. There's a cracking little cafe there. In fact, the bowl of soup I had during my last visit was, alone, worth running 107.1 miles for. It will then be on to Edinburgh up the A7. The 36.3 miles during this day and 2100ft of climb and descent will take me right up to Edinburgh Castle. I hope to have Roadside support for the final few hours and if I have enough energy left after the finish then a bit of slap up nosh could be the order of the day.

Never mind the running though, the real hard work will begin on Sunday when I attempt to start my Christmas Shopping. If anyone knows where the best place to buy a lump of coal is, in Edinburgh, please get in touch.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Fund Milestone! £20,000 raised so far!!!!!

Back in June, July and August, my friends at Digital Spark Ltd offered some superb fundraising support in the form of 2 quite unique schemes.

Firstly, they pledged to make donations to incentivise people to follow me on Twitter.  The sums were £100 for 1000 followers before the end of June, £200 for 2000 followers before the end of July and £300 for 3000 followers before the end of August. Thankfully, all of those follower targets were reached. The pledges didn't stop there, however. For every Run Geordie Run t-shirt sold in August, Digital Spark Ltd pledged to donate £5 to the 2 charities. This scheme yielded an extra £535 for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.

Amazingly, Digital Spark's contribution to the 2 charities hasn't stopped there and I'm very pleased to announce that they are now my main kit sponsor. Their total contribution to the 2 charities is now £2,000 and was paid via my 2 justgiving pages this week. 

At the time of writing, a very impressive £20,206.34 has been raised. Thanks to Digital Spark for their support. Thanks also to those kind folk who have sponsored me, bought a t-shirt, bought a CD or signed up to the "3000 scheme".

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Miles in memory....

Running 3100 miles across the USA is a massive undertaking. Just like my 2007 run from John O'Groats to Lands End, I'll be running in memory of lost family members such as my parents Margery and Terry and my brother David. I don't want the dedication to lost loved ones to stop there, however. 

I want to open up this event to as many people as I can. Apart from the obvious effects of raising 10's of thousands of pounds for the 2 charities, it is my sincere hope that this run will have as far reaching an effect as possible and will serve to inspire and to give hope and comfort to as many people as possible. 

I know from the 1000's of emails I've received over the last few years, just how much the run in 2007 and the cause I was running for meant to all of those people who got in touch. It soon became apparent that for every 1 runner like me, there are thousands of stories of great loss but usually great inspiration also.

With that in mind, 3000 miles of the run from California to New York in 2011 will be dedicated to the memory of a lost loved one. The name and dedication for each person will appear in a large leather bound book. This book will be produced in time for the start of the run and will be available for public viewing. At the time of writing, we are talking to Newcastle Central Library to have it housed in a glass case. The pages of the book will be turned each day as the run progresses. 

A copy of your entry in the book will also be sent to you separately as a memento to keep. It will also be possible to have a photo added in the book if required (If required, please email a photo for inclusion to

These people will be in my thoughts as I run each mile and I will most certainly hope to draw on the dedications left for inspiration as well as running in their memory. 

If you would like to dedicate a mile to the memory of a lost loved one then please complete this form. An amount, at your discretion, can be paid via or by cheque direct to the charities. Details of how to pay are shown after the form has been completed. Any donation per mile would be gratefully received, be it £2 or £10. The important thing is that we can create a lasting memorial to those people who we love that are sadly no longer with us.

Where has the t-shirt been this week?

Thanks to David Cardwell (far left) and friends for sending this photo all the way from Everest Base Camp. There have been some pretty amazing snaps of the Run Geordie Run t-shirt over the last 2 years and this one is certainly up there with the best of them. Even more impressive is the fact that 5 Sherpas are now the proud owners of these t-shirts.

If you would like to order the latest in Nepalese fashion then please click here.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Sponsorship Landmark

The sponsorship of last weekend's Castle to Keep Challenge by Rosewill Cottage saw the overall charity fund pass the £19,000 mark. In addition to that there were a few more donations during the course of the run and, at the time of writing, the current total is £19,240.34.

The pleasing thing from my point of view, though, is that there is only £1,240 to be collected after the run. i.e. traditional sponsorship payable upon successful completion of running 3100 miles across the USA. £1,423.68 is owed now and I'm chasing the small number of individuals for that.

That means that £16,576.66 has been sent to the 2 charities already. At the end of the year I'll publish a full breakdown of the overall total. It's something I do with both charities on a regular basis and always makes for interesting reading.

The total amount is made up of all kinds of donations. I, and I'm sure the 2 charities too, sincerely appreciate the small pledges just as much as the large ones. Thanks again to everyone who has made a donation at or

The Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge stats

Monday, 22 November 2010

All done and dusted

31.8 miles from Otterburn to Newcastle Keep was enough to see a successful outcome on the Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge.

Mike and Ian finished at 16:50 and I crossed the finish line at 20:20.

As I write this, unable to sleep, I'm in a blistered mess but that's 107.1 miles in mostly soaking wet conditions for you.

The full extent of the damage sustained is an inflamed right shin, horrible chafing, numerous blisters and feet that generally feel like two clubs of meat with little movement in the toes. In other words, nothing I haven't experienced before during distance of this kind. It's bringing back memories from the first few weeks when I ran from John O'Groats to Lands End back in 2007.

It's only as I've come to stop running that the pain is at it's worst.

Pain aside, I can't tell you just how pleased I was with my performance over the 3 days. Energy levels never wained. Hydration was spot on. Out of the 107.1 miles done, I ran all but a few hundred yards. I also took very few breaks choosing to attack the huge mileage each day (36.3, 39 and 31.8).

The route itself was very tough with climbs out of Edinburgh, out of Stow, up to Carter Bar and out of Otterburn providing particular challenges. It's one thing to run 107.1 miles in 3 days but to do it in cold, dark, wet and dangerous conditions and up and down some fantastic terrain, borders on insanity.

The run panned out just as I thought it would and, as a result, I found myself pretty well mentally prepared for it. I had a bad spell from mile 30-35 on day 2 but nothing a few friendly text messages and a phone call home couldn't cure.

Over 12 hours of running 39 miles on day 2 was very tough indeed. It made today's 31.8 seem easier in comparison.

I'll take stock over the next few days and try to figure out exactly how I managed to run that far just 6 months after breaking my ankle and with only 3 months of training.

In the meantime, thanks to Carlton for some absolutely first class road side support. Thanks also to Mike and Ian for some good banter and for adding a lot of running class to the event.

Thanks also to the kind folk who donated via and You helped get the overall total up to £19,220.34.

The immediate challenge now is to try and get some sleep. It's going to be easier said than done in this world of pain I'm in.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

17.3 done

Just about 14 left to do. Currently enjoying soup in Belsay courtesy of Mrs Run Geordie Run.

What an epic!

I've never before put in a shift on the road like I did yesterday. Particularly after having ran 36.25 miles the day before. 

Today's haul of miles was a whopping 39 from Jedburgh to Otterburn! That's 75 done in total in 2 days. 

Mike and Ian finished around 18:30 but it was a 22:00 finish for me in pitch black conditions from Carter Bar. It was at this point that I sent support cyclist man Carlton on his way too and he finished just ahead of Mike and Ian. 

There were some pretty low and lonely moments out there on that last stretch, I can tell you. I spoke to Katy and Jack (Mrs Run Geordie Run and Run Geordie Run Jr) a few times and that really helped. 

What also helped, with 2 miles to go, was the following message from Ivan Hollingsworth on Twitter: "U R A LEGEND. Wot u'r doing is an inspiration 2 me. Stay strong & remember all the lives that will improve from wot our doing".

The lads (who have been amazingly supportive) managed to get some pasta from the local pub and I had to force that down having had 6 energy bars and 4 energy gels during the day. 

I've had a decent night's sleep but it took until 1 in the morning for the aches in my legs to subside. I seem to have acquired a few blisters and my right shin is slightly inflamed. 

Today is all about getting to the finish no matter what. It's not going to be pretty but it does have to be effective. 

Thankfully, it's only 31 miles to Newcastle from Otterburn. I'll be giving it everything to finish The Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge today. 

Thanks to everyone who has sent a message of support on Facebook and Twitter. 

Finally, thanks to those kind folk who have made a donation at and Much appreciated!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Just a marathon left to do

9 miles done on THE ROSEWILL COTTAGE CASTLE TO KEEP CHALLENGE. Just a marathon distance left to do.

Thanks to those kind folk who have made a donation via or

Day 2

First 3 miles done on THE ROSEWILL COTTAGE CASTLE TO KEEP CHALLENGE. I don't feel too bad but today promises to be slower than yesterday for me. The 2 Hobbits, Mike and Ian are a few miles ahead. Head down, time to get stuck in to the A68.

Friday, 19 November 2010

All done

36.25 miles done. Very challenging but a great days running on THE ROSEWILL COTTAGE CASTLE TO KEEP CHALLENGE.

And we're off!

9 miles done already on THE ROSEWILL COTTAGE CASTLE TO KEEP CHALLENGE. The whole team are feeling good so far.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Castle to Keep sponsor **UPDATE**

The current highest bid for the sponsorship of the Castle to Keep Challenge is £200. Thanks to Dawn McLean for her bid via Twitter.

If you'd like to sponsor this weekend's run then please drop me a line with your bid amount at Bidding closes at 12 noon on Thursday and is being done via email and via my Twitter page. I'll post regular updates on this blog with regard to how the bidding is going,

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The biggest test so far

It's a whole 6 months since that punctured tyre caused me to fall off my bike, breaking my right ankle. The resulting operation to insert 2 pins into the ankle seemed like the right thing to do at the time. 6 months down the line that decision now seems like a masterstroke and I'm well on the way to getting the strength, that I had in May, back in my legs.

Following a good period of rehabilitation I'm happy to report that The Paddy Power Bionic Ankle ™ is in absolutely superb fettle. In fact, it is almost the same shape as my other ankle. Since my return to running following the period of rehab, my training has been going well with plenty of long runs. Despite being very slow, I've never been in any danger of failing to complete the distances I've attempted. An added bonus is the fact that the day following a long run I feel that there has been very little pain and stiffness in my legs. The time is, therefore, right to step things up and see precisely where my endurance and recovery levels lie. In an attempt to do just that I will be running from Edinburgh to Newcastle this weekend.

This Friday at 9 am, I will be accompanied by 2 other runners and a cyclist as we start our journey from Edinburgh Castle to the Keep in Newcastle. This latest configuration of "Team Run Geordie Run" will take 3 days and 105 miles to complete this cold, dark and damp run. I regard this particular event, which I'm calling the Castle to Keep Challenge, as far and away the biggest test I've had in the build up to USA 2011. In fact, it's probably the biggest test since I ran from John O'Groats to Lands End back in the Summer of 2007.

Team Run Geordie Run for the Castle to Keep run will consist of veteran Mike Lewis, club runner Ian Young and myself running. We'll be supported by Carlton Fletcher on his bike carrying "1 or 2" of our luxury items in his panniers.

Had I not broken my ankle then this event would have happened in August. As it turns out it has to be done in more difficult conditions. For one, it's going to be one hell of a lot colder than August with less daylight hours. This is my main concern and good discipline will be needed to set off on time each day. We need to give ourselves a good chance of finishing each of the 3 days in daylight so 9 am starts will be on the cards each day, if not earlier.

Unlike myself, Mike and Ian are built like runners. They are both about the size of a Hobbit and are very good when it comes to speed and distance. I fully expect these 2 to be finished well ahead of me on each of the 3 days, Thankfully, Carlton will be around on the bike to ensure I get to the end safely (won't you Carlton?).

Over the course of the 3 days, I'm expecting thousands of hits on this website (mainly via publicity from and lots of interest on Twitter. With that in mind, I'm currently looking for a sponsor of this run with all proceeds to be split between The Children's Foundation (Charity No 1000013) and St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410). The run will be known as "The INSERT YOUR NAME HERE Castle to Keep Challenge".

The event and your name/company name will get mentioned on this website, on my Twitter page (currently 3,495 followers), on Facebook (currently 1550 followers and over 400 friends) and there is a very good chance that it will be mentioned on

If you'd like to sponsor the run then please drop me a line with your bid amount at Bidding will close at 12pm on Thursday and will be done via email and via my Twitter page. I'll post regular updates on this blog with regard to how the bidding is going,

I realise that it's the excellent Children in Need event this Friday but we have some children in need of our own right here in the North East so please support The Children's Foundation and of course St Benedict's Hospice. Get bidding folks and help make this weekend's journey a success.

This is the route Team Run Geordie Run will be taking. Click on it to be taken to Google Maps.

Day 1 of the Castle to Keep Challenge is from Edinburgh Castle to Melrose. Day 2 is from Melrose to Otterburn. Day 3 is from Otterburn to the Keep in Newcastle.

Friday, 5 November 2010

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 104

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Wednesday 27th October 2010 - 5.75 mile run. Jesmond Dene. (01:34:02).
Sunday 17th October 2010 - 22 mile run, Middleton to Castleside. (01:05:22).

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 103

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Tuesday 19th October 2010 - 13 mile run, Gosforth to Hamsterley Mill. (02:38:16).
Friday 22nd October 2010 - 10.9 mile run, Gosforth to Rowlands Gill. (02:09:13).
Sunday 24th October 2010 - 20 mile run, "The 3 peaks". (04:36:49).

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 102

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Monday 11th October 2010 - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:45:54).
Wednesday 13th October 2010 - 2.4 mile run. Tynemouth to Dave Fairlamb's gym. (00:26:15).
Wednesday 13th October 2010 - Personal training session. (01:00:00).
Wednesday 13th October 2010 - 8.2 mile run. Dave Fairlamb's gym to Gosforth. (01:34:02).
Sunday 17th October 2010 - 20 mile run, Shotley Bridge to Newcastle to Metro Centre. (03:51:27).

Monday, 11 October 2010

A big 6 weeks in the USA 2011 training campaign

Last week was a very good week as I continued my return to fitness. With 44.25 miles ran, including twice up Lobley Hill to Sunniside, and a Beach Bootcamp session, it was the biggest haul of miles achieved since I broke my ankle back in May. Moreover, it was the biggest sign since that injury that my endurance levels are on the way back.

Today, I started building on last week's running with the quickest 5 mile run for  ages  (00:45:54).  See the split times to the right. OK, it's not exactly breaking records but it's the smallest glimpse of quality I've seen in my running for quite some time. I didn't set out to run quicker than of late. The plan was simply to concentrate on posture, technique and breathing. When I get these things right the running usually falls nicely into place as was the case today. 

I've got a few more short and quick runs to do this week before I attempt a 20ish miler on Sunday. I'll hopefully have a bit of company on that one with Mike Lewis helping out.

There are only 6 weeks left before I run 105 miles in 3 days from Edinburgh to Newcastle. There are no training opportunities to be missed if I'm to successfully complete that one. Every single run is important now. Each morsel of food that I put in my gob is equally as important. Where I have succeeded with various runs in this campaign, I have mostly failed in the food stakes. Will I ever get that aspect right? Who knows? I guarantee that I will get the running right, however.

I've taken some good running scalps during this training campaign. 00:46:48 in last year's Blaydon Race, completing the 2009 Chevy Chase, a couple of 37 mile runs and a very pleasing 32 mile effort in the Borders this year. The run from Edinburgh to Newcastle must be the next success story if I'm to keep progressing towards USA 2011. Make no mistake, it's a big 6 weeks for Run Geordie Run. My foot (and the two pins inserted into my ankle) will be pushing down hard on the gas in search of quality and to reach Newcastle in 1 piece having run 35 miles a day for 3 days.

Team Run Geordie Run's John Loughlin

The fourth member of Team Run Geordie Run to compete in the Great North Run was an old university mate of mine; John Loughlin.

John finished this year's run in 02:48:44 and raised £122 into the bargain. This is very much a work in progress for John as he has lost 4 stone in the last couple of years and hopes to continue to improve for next year's Great North Run.

This year's run, the 30th, was particularly memorable for John as it was his first since the run started way back in 1981.

If there's one thing John has yet to master it's running in the heat and he'd easily prefer running in the snow compared to an even slightly hot or humid day.

After 9 hot miles on this year's Great North Run John suffered some cramp due to the large amount of sweat he'd lost. He took the pace right off after that until he was able to muster a sprint finish over the final 100 metres or so.

Despite beating his previous time from 1981 he was quite disappointed with this year's time. I think if the Great North Run was held in a colder month such as December we'd see a different result entirely.

Being part of Team Run Geordie Run and raising a great amount for the 2 charities is nothing to be disappointed about, however. As John reflected "I'm really happy to have made a contribution. I've never done anything like this before, for a good cause, and it feels great.".

Thanks go to John's colleagues at Domnick Hunter Parker Hannifin in the Team Valley for their sponsorship of John.

I've got a feeling that we haven't see the last of John in the Great North Run. I've also got a feeling that he will attempt to face his running demons that are heat and humidity. If he overcomes them, then a PB will be on the cards for the Great North Run in 2011 for sure. Watch this space!

So that brings a close to this little series highlighting the members of Team Run Geordie Run who, on the 19th of September, ran the 13.1 mile Great North Run and raised over £1,600 for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. Thanks again to George Caulkin, Mick Butler, John Loughlin and me (!) for a successful Great North Run 2010. I hope to see them all again for next year's run. I'm sure all of us are capable of beating this year's times. I'll have no excuse having ran 3100 miles across the USA just 7 weeks earlier!

If you are lucky enough to get a number for next year's Great North Run, then why not consider running as part of Team Run Geordie Run, raising funds for the 2 charities. Interested? Please get in touch at

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 101

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Monday 4th October 2010 - 5.1 mile run, Scotswood Road to Gosforth. (00:54:55).
Monday 4th October 2010 - 8.25 mile run, Gosforth to Thornley Woodland Centre. (01:38:17).
Tuesday 5th October 2010 - 3.25 mile run, For Your Eyes Only to Gosforth. (00:34:43).
Tuesday 5th October 2010 - 6.1 mile run, Gosforth to Swalwell. (01:16:24).
Wednesday 6th October - 8.75 mile run, Gosforth to Sunniside. (01:45:27).
Thursday 7th October - 8.62 mile run, Gosforth to Sunniside. (01:42:41).
Friday 8th October - 4.2 mile run, Gosforth to Redheugh Bridge. (00:48:26).
Saturday 9th October - David Fairlamb's Beach Bootcamp. (00:50:00).

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 100

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Wednesday 29th September - Personal training session. (01:00:00).
Thursday 30th September 2010 - 8.5 mile run, Havannah Nature Reserve. (01:33:08).
Saturday 2nd October 2010 - David Fairlamb's Beach Bootcamp. (00:45:00).

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

£18,000 milestone passed!

Yesterday, I revealed on Twitter that the Run Geordie Run t-shirts were running short on supply. I also revealed that the charity fund for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation was close to £18,000.

This news prompted a few people into action and I'm pleased to say that with a flurry of t-shirt sales the charity fund burst through the £18,000 barrier and currently stands at £18,080. 

I spend a lot of time doing this but once again I'd like to give a huge thank you to all of those people who have made a donation to the 2 charities. Your support is greatly appreciated by me and more importantly by the 2 charities.

As I said before, Run Geordie Run t-shirts are now in short supply and there are only small and medium sizes left in white and large left in blue. I think they'll all be gone in a couple of weeks. If you're thinking about buying one then I'd get a move on. They can be ordered here.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Final few t-shirts left

Over 600 Run Geordie Run t-shirts have now been sold, yielding a massive £7,000 for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. The t-shirts are now seen regularly in races up and down the country with a good few spotted at last week's Great North Run.

Old Toon nemesis and Sky Sports pundit Matt le Tissier (pictured) nabbed one last week along with fellow pundits Champagne Charlie Nicholas and Paul Merson.

Run Geordie Run t-shirts are screen printed both front and back for durability and are only £10 (plus postage) with the FULL AMOUNT going to charity (via To order yours before they run out please click here.

No more physio

I had a physio appointment last Friday with Kevin Bell at The Osborne Clinic. I'd almost followed his instruction to the letter for 8 weeks. I say almost as The Great North Run wasn't part of his rehabilitation plans! Swimming, mini-trampoline, cycling in the gym, various stretches and some light running have been his plan though.

I didn't have to break news of the Great North Run to Kevin as, thanks to an article on, he already knew about it! He greeted me in the waiting room with "Come through Mark......and bring your medal!". Doh!

At the end of this particular session we agreed that there was no more physio required and that it was now up to me to increase the mileage slowly but surely. Kevin has to take a lot of credit for getting me back to running so soon. His guidance and advice have been first class and without him I really wouldn't have been back running so soon.

If you're in need of the services of a physio then I would recommend Kevin Bell at The Osborne Clinic. Thanks for your help Kevin.

Jason Isaacs at The Run Geordie Run Ball

When the Run Geordie Run Ball committee met last week we only had one choice for entertainment; the brilliant swinging showman that is Jason Isaacs.

Crooner Jason may be a local lad but he is now known right  across the nation thanks to his victory in The People's Crooner Competition on The Alan Titchmarsh Show. He's been singing professionally for over 15 years and has wowed audiences wherever he has played. 

To say that I'm excited about Jason, backed by the Greg Francis Orchestra, singing at the Run Geordie Run ball is an understatement.

If you're interested in attending the Run Geordie Run USA 2011 Ball then please click here to reserve your tickets. They are sold on a first come first served basis so don't delay in expressing your interest.

USA 2011 Training Summary - Week 99

The Run Geordie Run Training Summary is brought to you in association with Northern Runner, 52 Low Friar Street (Just down from the Gate), Newcastle.

Why not visit the Northern Runner shop and let the experts examine your feet to recommend the best shoe for you. Alternatively, click on the link to the left to go straight to their website.

Monday 20th September - 6 mile run, Town Moor. (01:11:12).
Wednesday 22nd September 2010 - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:54:29).
Wednesday 22nd September 2010 - Personal Training Session. (01:00:00).
Thursday 22rd September 2010 - 5 mile run, Race Course. (00:54:26).

Team Run Geordie Run's Mick Butler

It's time to continue the series of articles showcasing those members of TEAM RUN GEORDIE RUN who took part in the 2010 BUPA Great North Run.

Last time out it was, George Caulkin. Next up is a guy who trains with David Fairlamb Fitness and is a regular attendee of the Beach Bootcamp sessions in Tynemouth. Ladies and gents it gives me great pleasure to introduce the one and only Mick Butler.

Mick, an area sales manager, was only too pleased to raise money for the two charities and be part of Team Run Geordie Run. His original motivation was to "keep me off the Stella and focused on training"!

Mick completed last year's Great North Run in 01:58:00. He did even better this year finishing in a personal best time of 01:54:05. That's what running in a Run Geordie Run t-shirt does for you!

As well as finishing in a very respectable time, Mick has raised in the region of £400 for St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No 1000013). Once he's collected all the sponsorship in, I'll post an update to this blog.

A massive thank you is due to Mick for his fundraising efforts and I reckon he'll be back in 12 month's time to have a crack at beating 01:50:00. See you there Mick.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Where has the t-shirt been this week? reader David Cardwell recently bought 5 Run Geordie Run t-shirts for use during an up and coming expedition to Everest in November. Here he is pictured wearing one of them while altitude training on some of Colorado's 14,000 ft mountains. First up is Mount Grays at 14,270 ft!

The next stunning picture is of Mount Torrey at 14,267ft. David said "You will be running by these Mark and they can be seen from I-70". I don't have the same head for heights as David and thankfully my summit in Colorado is Berthoud Pass at 11,300ft.

Once David and the 4 other team members have finished with the t-shirts on Everest, the plan is to give them to the Sherpas. Amazing or what! Watch this space over the coming months for more photos from David and the team. In the meantime, thanks to David and his obviously very fit dog, for taking time out to take such stunning pictures with the Run Geordie Run t-shirt.

There are only 40 or so t-shirts left. So if you're thinking about buying one then I'd move fast. Run Geordie Run t-shirts are screen printed both front and back for durability and thanks to for paying for the latest batch (Peter McCowie paid for previous batches) the full £10 goes to charity. Run Geordie Run t-shirts can be ordered here.

£17,000 landmark passed

In all of the excitement of last Sunday's Great North Run, I almost forgot to mention that George Caulkin's fundraising efforts pushed the charity total over the £17,000 barrier!

George's £1,000 now puts the total amount raised for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation up to (drum roll please) an amazing £17,638.

Once the sponsor money from the other members of Team Run Geordie Run is collected then the total amount raised should just about sneak over £18,000.

Helping to continually move the total on nicely, of course, are the sale of Run Geordie Run t-shirts. Hardly a day goes buy that I get sent a photo of someone wearing one or news of one spotted out running reaches me. There are only 40 or so left. So if you're thinking about buying one then I'd move fast.

Run Geordie Run t-shirts are screen printed both front and back for durability and thanks to for paying for the latest batch (Peter McCowie paid for previous batches) the full £10 goes to charity. Run Geordie Run t-shirts can be ordered here.