It's time to continue the series of blog posts where I introduce my support team to the readers of rungeordierun.com. I've already talked about Graham, Jason and Carlton. The latter will be joined by Dave and Ian on day 39 in Port Augusta at the 1476 mile point. Like Carlton, personal trainer Dave (pictured with me below) is no stranger to my runs and of course famously supported me during two sections of the run across the USA. Regular readers will know all about Dave and the important role he played during the run across the USA. For those that don't know, Dave has overseen my training for the last few years and also takes on the role as my mentor.
Ian is one of Dave's clients and lost 12 stone in weight recently! That is an astonishing achievement as you can see from the before and after images below. Ian is a fellow Newcastle supporter and I'm sure we'll have plenty of football related tales to recount. Ian has trained this year to accompany me on the run. He plans to do 10 half marathons in 10 of the days that he's on the support team.
Carlton, Dave and Ian's sole mission, during their 6 days on the team together, is to ensure that I reach mile 1675 at Victoria Square Fountain in Adelaide on time on day 44. It is at that point that Carlton leaves and the final team member, my partner Donna, joins the team. I'll talk about that final configuration of the support team in a future blog post. In the meantime, Dave had the following to say about his forthcoming time on the team: "Mark's run across the USA was an extraordinary achievement but running 41 miles a day across Australia in their summer is bordering suicidal. However, if anyone is mentally strong enough to attack and achieve this challenge it's Mark.
The lessons learned in his USA run, I feel, will be critical to the success of this run. Many mistakes were made including, at one point, being 165 miles behind schedule. That simply can't happen this time. The heat and terrain will not allow Mark to pull back that sort of mileage deficit. This time Mark has a clear game plan and it's up to us, the support team, to make sure he sticks to it and stays focused.
If you think being a member of the support team is easy then think again! When Mark is physically and mentally exhausted, which is most of the time, knowing what to say and do for the best isn’t always easy. There is a thin line between pushing Mark too far, which could cause him to become demotivated, or saying something which will spark him in to life! Humour is often the best tactic and worked well in the USA.
I have kept plenty of stories to share with Mark in Oz so Mark Fleming look out as I haven’t forgiven you for telling the world about my altercation with the highway patrol when we had been in USA less than 2 hours last time! The support team will also be contributing to the blog this time so you will be able to read what tactics we have used to keep Mark on track, on time and on target for another epic journey…I cant wait.".
Ian (pictured above before his dramatic weight loss) added "I joined the support team to help Mark (in a very small way) to achieve this crazy challenge and also set myself a new target at the same time. I first met Mark in April 2012, when I was part of Dave Fairlamb first 'fit factor group'. In the first week, Mark gave us a speech and an insight into what can be achieved when you are fully focussed and committed to achieving a target, following his run across America.
Mark ran the 2 miles on Tynemouth Longsands with the group of 8, which was the first time I had ran anywhere for almost 30 years (when I say ran I should say slow jog or fast walk). I found Mark's story and words very helpful and indeed inspirational and this helped me achieve the weight loss and improved fitness I gained over the last 15 months, losing over 11 stone.
I was asked by Dave Fairlamb at the start of this year as to whether I fancied going to Australia with him to help Mark by running with him a few miles and drive the support car. In a moment of weakness, whilst we were in a pub I agreed, but I was more thinking of driving the car, catching the sun and seeing Australia, rather than doing much running.
It will be great to get to know Mark better over the two weeks in Oz, even though I expect to see a lot of the miserable grumpy Mark in the circumstances. I have set myself a target of running 130 miles in 10 days to help Mark and to avoid Mark having to listen to Dave's Wham music all day! This will hopefully allow me to hit my weight target of 15 stone, which will have been inspired from start (at Tynemouth) to finish (in Oz) by Mark.
I am not looking forward to running in the dark, so the hardest part will be getting Mark out of bed for the earliest start possible each day. I am also not looking forward to sleeping in an RV with Mark and 3 others for 2 weeks, especially as there is only 1 shower which is designed for a midget and limited water supply, which sounds like it will be a shower every 3 or 4 days. What will Dave Fairlamb's hair look like! (we will have to get some shots for the Journal of Dave with unkempt hair- that should raise a few £ for charity even if it's just Dave paying to keep them out the papers).
I am sure we will have a few laughs with a number of insects and snakes finding their way into the cases, but who will be brave enough to take the risk of dismissing them as fakes! The sense of humour will be very important as they say ' if we can't laugh I am sure we will cry'.
I hope to be able to help Mark do the 41 miles a day by passing the time in getting to know each other better and 'chewing the fat' about our views on one of our mutual passions 'the Toon'. We have both been staunch Toon fans for many years and we will be able to share our thoughts and memories on the best and worst players and games as well as testing our knowledge of the Toon (we will see how much he really knows when I take the toon history books with me and I will give him his score out of 10 or 20 each day).
We will also have 41 miles a day of think of various ways to 'wind Dave up' each night!"
Dave and Ian will leave the support team on day 52 at the 1962 mile point in Piangil near the Victoria/New South Wales border. It's nice to see that Ian is also planning on winding Dave up at every opportunity. Watch out for details of that on this blog as and when it happens.