The man who once said "never again” after supporting my run across the USA and subsequently went on to support my run across Australia has signed up for a 3rd stint on the Run Geordie Run support team for the 2016 run.
I'm absolutely delighted to announce that Carlton Fletcher, pictured below during the run across Australia, will be supporting me once again. Carlton brings a wealth of support experience and, arguably more importantly, a tremendous sense of humour to the team. He knows exactly how I operate, what my thought process is and what motivates me during these major endurance events.
Carlton is a very innovative quick thinker and not a bad cook, photographer, mechanic and driver to boot. It is these kinds of attributes which have helped us get out of many difficult situations in the USA and Australia. To this day, I don't know how he managed to get a 36ft motor home through the busy roads of New York to the finish line at Coney Island in 2011.
Carlton knows how to operate an RV motor home and can be seen below using the last of the water to do the dishes when I needed a shower! As I said, he has a tremendous sense of humour! Oh how we laughed in Australia when I hadn't showered for 4 days. We had very clean dishes though!
Carlton's skills don't stop there. Over the years he has been involved in supporting my fundraising activities too. He has been responsible for raising thousands of pounds for the charities since he has been on the support team. His last fundraising efforts saw him "dress up" and run a marathon on one of the scorching hot days in Australia. He raised £1300 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation as a result. I dread to think what he might do in 2016!
There are many funny stories that I could add about Carlton's time on the Support Team but that would probably be for a book rather than a blog post. In the meantime, Carlton's account of the final hours of the run across the USA can be seen here.
When pushed for comment Carlton said that I could use one of the following quotes. I've published them all for completeness!
"He makes me do it. He also takes my dinner money."
"Helping mark, is like helping a small needy child."
"Despite saying I would never do that again, the reality is I just can't get enough of it."
"What Mark does is inspirational, and helping him fills me with warm happy feelings."
"It gets me away from the family for a couple of weeks."
"It's a small sacrifice to help the enormous sacrifice that Mark makes for such brilliant causes."
"It's truly satisfying to help Mark make a difference. The difficult living conditions, continual abuse, pain and suffering that the support team face for a couple of weeks, pales into insignificance compared to the good that Mark's chosen charities bring to ordinary people on a daily basis."
Whatever his reasons for his amazing continued support, I'm very grateful to Carlton for volunteering his time and money to help the 2016 run become a success. And that, at the end of the day, is exactly what he is; a volunteer. He spends time away from his family (I've not heard them complain yet), pays for his own flights and accommodation and is a member of a team making a huge difference to the local community. Without such volunteers there would be no running down the UK or across the USA or Australia and no charitable funds raised. Thanks Carlton!