Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Mark Beaumont Castle to Keep Challenge

Bids for the naming rights of this weekend's Castle to Keep Challenge have been made throughout today and started at just £2. As I was on the way to Edinburgh tonight, a winning bid of £250 was made. It came from none other than one of my absolute all time heroes; Mark Beaumont.

Mark cycled from John O'Groats to Lands End when he was just 12 years old! In 2007, he set a world record for cycling all of the way around the world. A distance of 18,296 miles covered in just 194 days and 17 hours. There was a BBC documentary and a best selling book that covered the round the world trip.

It was Mark's cycle ride (with 2 climbs) from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Southern Argentina, via the highest peaks in North and South America in 2009/10 that really got me captivated. I followed Mark's highly engaging journey via Twitter and various updates on Radio 1 for 9 months. The 3 part documentary to accompany the trip that was broadcast soon after on the BBC was absolutely fascinating and extremely inspiring. The corresponding book for this trip is due for publication in May this year. I'll be arranging it's delivery on the run across the USA via one of my support team.

Thanks to Mark for a very generous donation to the 2 charities. Now for the small matter of running 107 miles from Edinburgh to Newcastle over the next 3 days. This particular run will be called the "Mark Beaumont Castle to Keep Challenge". It's the final big run before I set off for the USA next month. I'll be looking to set a PB for this route, more to keep me on my toes and pushing on than any other reason.

Mark said "I am very happy to support such a great effort. Good luck over the next few days and I look forwards to following your progress.". 

Fellow Scotsman, former British Lion and now Scotland's Attack Coach, Gregor Townsend tweeted   "Good luck tomorrow - only 98 miles further than my longest run on the same route! Kudos to sponsor @MrMarkBeaumont".

At the time of writing, my Twitter feed was full of messages from kind folk wishing me good luck for the next 3 days. I've always maintained that this kind of support will be invaluable during the run across the USA. 

Tomorrow morning will see me start running, unsupported, from Edinburgh Castle between 8 and 9. It's 36 miles to Melrose and I hope to get there just after sun down. Hopefully, there'll be a hearty bowl of soup to be had in that little cafe in Stow on the way. 

Here's to a successful 107 mile "Mark Beaumont Castle to Keep Challenge". Watch this space for updates during the day or via my Twitter page.