The plan for day 87 was to run at least 18 miles before heading off to watch Columbus Crew entertain Newcastle United. I started off at a slow pace along Highway 40 in Ohio. The hot sun beating down together with the numerous small climbs kept my pace at bay until the 10 mile point.
Accompanied by Carlton, I managed to increase the speed slightly to the first break at 12.5 miles. A tactical snooze was taken at this point. I don't think that I was tired from yesterday's 41.5 miles. It probably had more to do with the fact that I was updating my blog until 1 am the night before. It's imperative that I share this journey with as many people as I can so I wouldn't have it any other way.
Carlton was in a bit of disarray at the first stop. I've enjoyed his running company but 16 miles yesterday followed by 12.5 miles today was way too much. I need to use Carlton's company wisely and sparingly over the remaining 13 days. Having someone to talk to or set a pace is a huge plus on this run. It always has been. If I lose Carlton to injury then the task is made just that little bit more difficult. Oh and he carries my water too!
The second session of the day was much quicker and the miles ticked by quite nicely. I stopped for the day at 20.2 miles and the support team and I made our way back to Columbus to watch the match and for me to perform my "Coin Toss Captain" duties.
This was to be my first experience of watching Newcastle play outside of Europe. The whole match day atmosphere was very laid back and friendly. I actually felt like a valued customer when I showed my ticket at the entrance. This is stark contrast to being pushed around by Spanish match day police in Barcelona or Mallorca.
We met Columbus Crew staff Dan Lolli and Arica Kress. They took great care of the support team and I who seemed to me loving the experience every bit as much as me. I then met Alan Pardew and Fabricio Coloccini. They asked me a few questions about the run and I told Alan that I was very match fit if he needed someone to play up front. I also had a chat with John Carver who was aware of the run across the USA. It was great to talk to a fellow Geordie and we exchanged a hearty handshake.
Just before the match kicked off I was led onto the pitch by two cheerleaders. Which was nice! I then met the officials and captains of both sides. Then it was up to me to perform my duties. Coloccini called "Heads" and it landed "tails". See today's "Photo(s) of the Day" in an earlier blog post for those pictures. I was then led off the pitch by the two cheerleaders and I raced to my seat to watch the match.
I'll leave the match reporting to the experts but overall it was a decent match. From what I can gather, it sounded like an improvement on the other 2 games in the USA.
At half time there was a PA announcement with details of my run across the USA. This was backed up with a photo of me crossing into Ohio up on the huge scoreboards.
I never got to hear the PA as I was being interviewed by Neil Sika (below) for the live match stream going out across the internet. I received a lot of nice feedback on Twitter about this interview. I really enjoyed doing it and credit to Neil for asking some good questions and knowing a lot of stuff already about the run.
I was able to catch up with Biffa from nufc.com and some other familiar faces before taking my position for the 2nd half. What happened during that second half will live long in the memory. Firstly, a lot of supporters came up to me and handed over some sponsor money. Thanks to everyone who did that. Secondly, thanks to the many people who came over and asked for a photo and gave me lot of kind and encouraging words. That was brilliant. I felt quite famous actually.
It wasn't long before the guys and gals around me were chanting "Run Geordie Run, Run Geordie Run, Run Geordie Run, Run Geordie Run" over and over (See today's "Video of the day"). This led to more donations, photos and kind wishes. I applauded the vocal efforts of the supporters. That together with a 3 - 0 victory sealed off a great evening.
A lot of the people I talked to tonight are going to be running the final few miles with me in New York on August 8th. There is also a party planned on August 9th at Legends in Manhattan. I'll publish more details about this when I know them.
The support, donations and kindness shown towards me and the support team tonight was not only brilliant but also really appreciated. If I take up all of tonight's offers of drinks at that party in Legends I won't be standing long!
Thanks to all the other kind folk to who made a donation today. There were quite a few and the charity fund now stands at £45,156.20 having broken the 45k mark. Outstanding! There are so many individuals to thank and I will get round to doing this when I return to the UK next month.
If you would like to sponsor my run across the USA then donations can be made in a number of ways. www.justgiving.com have introduced a brilliant new free donation method. Did you know that you can now donate to the 2 charities using your mobile phone?
To donate an amount to St Benedict's Hospice, please text your desired amount and the following code RNGR98 to 70070:
To donate an amount to The Children's Foundation, please text your desired amount and the following code RNGR99 to 70070:
Donations can also be made direct to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation using the following links to justgiving.com.
(St Benedict's Hospice)
(The Children's Foundation)
Finally, a donation can be made via cheque payable to 'The Children's Foundation' or 'St Benedict's Hospice' and sent to the following addresses:
FAO Libby Nolan
The Children's Foundation,
PO Box 2YB,
Sir James Spence Institute,
Royal Victoria Infirmary,
Queen Victoria Road,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
FAO Sylvia Stoneham
St Benedict's Hospice.