Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Australia getting closer!

With only 63 days until the start of the run across Australia it's about time I gave an update and made a start on building the online momentum on

I'm relieved to report that the final critical tasks on my to do list are underway. Thankfully, there are only a small number of things still left to organise. Arranging accommodation in Sydney, agreeing the support car arrangements with Mitsubishi, announcing my headline sponsor and finding the optimum method of communication are the major tasks left. As well as all of that, there is also the small task of finishing the training programme, doing my day job and making sure I spend as much time with my son Jack as is possible. It's going to be pretty much full on between now and the start of the run at Cottesloe Beach, Perth on October 16th.

Away from the logistical side of the run, I have tried to fit in as many long runs as possible this year. I recently completed a 41 mile run from Blyth to Seahouses. It served as a huge reminder as to how mentally as well as physically tough running that kind of distance is. The run was completed in a little over 9 hours with an hour's worth of refueling stops in between. This timeline is what I'll be striving to maintain for 70 days in Australia. If I manage to keep that pace up then an 0600 start will see me finish between 1600 and 1700 every day. I expect that to happen for just a minority of days. 

Realistically, I expect to be finishing between 1900 and 2000 on an average day and between 2100 and 2300 on a bad day. I'll talk more about this in a blog post very soon. It's something I've discussed with the support team. I'll introduce you to them too very soon.

I've thought about the possible outcomes of the run across Australia many times over the last few years. Despite running successfully across the USA in 100 days, the mileage I have to run in Australia is not something I have yet managed to get my mind round. I don't think I ever will until I get to the finish line in Sydney on December 24th.

If I am successful, the brief research that I have done suggests that I will be the first person from the UK to run from Perth to Sydney. That will make me the first Geordie too. I could only find 11 other recorded crossings of various types by people of other nationalities. On average, an attempt has been made just once every four years since 1973. That is a stat that constantly plays on my mind. Why have there been so few? There must be a very good reason for that! On the other hand, it feels like an absolute privilege to try and do something that so few people have done on this planet.

The run across Australia will be, without doubt, the most difficult and dangerous run that I've ever attempted. I like to compare it to a high jumper raising the bar after each successful jump. The bar was once set at a height that saw me run around the block. It is now set, such that I may not be able to clear it. "Was the run across the USA the pinnacle of my running/fundraising career?", "Is Australia a step too far for an ordinary man in the street?" are questions I often ask myself. I have to remind you that, despite previous success, I don't class myself as a particularly good runner. I am very good at putting up with extreme pain and mental torture however.

During the build up to the run across the USA, I was always quietly confident about being able to run 3100 miles in 100 days. I've yet to show even a glimmer of that confidence during this particular campaign. It will be interesting to see how the run across Australia pans out. The chance of failure is relatively high and so many things need to go right to give me a chance of success. This all may sound negative but I don't actually look at it that way. I'm desperately looking forward to the extreme challenge that lies ahead. It is going to be so tough and will require a huge step up in performance and a great deal of luck than that of the USA run in 2011

The other challenging aspect is to ensure that an event of this magnitude is financially rewarding for my 2 chosen charities. At the time of writing, the fund for The Children's Foundation and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation stands at £11,631.37. There is such a long way to go before the target of £50,000 is reached. As ever, I'll be working as hard as I possibly can, on behalf of the 2 charities, to deserve every single penny that is pledged.

Finally, I'll close tonight by pleading with you for a donation to the 2 charities. I've said it many times before that any amount, no matter how large or small, makes a huge difference. The difference this time may be, for example, that The Children's Foundation are able to continue to pay for the Clown Doctor's service at The Great North Children's Hospital or that The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are able to fund a ground breaking piece of equipment to assist with cancer treatment. These are things that I have witnessed first hand so please rest assured that your money will be well spent within 2 charities that have very little administrative overhead.

The link below to my Virgin Money Giving page can be used to donate direct to the The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation.

Thanks so much in anticipation of your kindness and generosity.