Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Run Geordie Run on the pitch

I took to my seat 45 minutes before tonight's kick off against Manchester United. It gave me some time to take in the atmosphere and also time to reflect on the task ahead starting in just 12 days time.

It ended up being an emotional farewell to St James' Park and the Toon Army. I suddenly realised that, in fact, it would be the first of many goodbyes I'll be making over the next 7 days. 

I was delighted to make a half time appearance on the pitch where I had a quick Q&A with match host Justin Lockwood. It was a great chance to raise the profile of the run and once again state just how credible this challenge to run across the USA actually is.

I was very pleased with the reception from the stands. I was told later that, as well as the Toon Army, the Manchester United fans were applauding me too. Which was nice.  

I also said farewell this evening to one of my biggest supporters, Biffa from nufc.com. Biffa, who sits near me at the match, has backed me time and time again over the last 10 years and the publicity that is afforded to me and the charities has made a massive difference to my fundraising efforts.

Avoiding defeat against the league leaders was pretty good icing on the cake and a very good send off for me personally. I'm really disappointed to be missing the final 2 home games of the season but at least I'll be back for the start of the new season in August. Actually, I hope to attend a match prior to that and I'm aiming to be in Columbus, Ohio on July 26th as Newcastle take on Columbus Crew.

All in all it was a good evening's PR work on the back of last night's appearance on BBC Total Sport. If that wasn't enough, then I've written a "10 things to do before you die" article for this month's Living North Magazine and a "Now and Then" article will appear in this Saturday's Journal newspaper. Of course, there is also the small matter of running from Hollywood Avenue to the New York Diner burger van in Team Valley live on Real Radio on Friday. 

I've just got the small matter of my final 2 runs in the Environmental Chamber at Northumbria University over the next 2 days. I've had 6 good sessions recently at temperatures of up to 39 Degrees Celsius and 11,000 ft simulated altitude. The last run I did, last Sunday, was the best with 8.5 miles done at 32 Degrees Celsius. I'm going to try and better that tomorrow and on Thursday I've got a fitness test at 37 Degrees Celsius. Exciting times ahead!