Sunday, 12 May 2019

STAGE 6 NEWS

I've had a really nice rest since stage five of the run around the world finished last Summer. This period has seen probably the least amount of miles that I've ever done since first putting on my running shoes back in 1993.

It's been important for Donna and I to step away from it all for a short time in order to come back with greater focus and determination. Training for stage six will begin in August 2019. That will give me approximately 21 months before the 2100 mile run starts from Kiev, Ukraine to Nur Sultan (formerly Astana) in Kazakhstan.


I'm still working on an exact start date for stage six with numerous factors to take into account such as my employment situation, gaining enough commercial backing and the date of my 50th birthday!

I've thought a lot recently about my approach to the next stage. I'm absolutely certain that, for this campaign to be a success, I need to work as hard as I did during the build up to the run across the USA. Specifically, before I broke my ankle in May 2010. The period of training from January 2009 up to my accident 17 months later was very consistent, it was very tough and that schedule was absolutely relentless.

Since the USA campaign, I have never been able to reach those heights in training due to the focus needing to be on the amount of planning and logistics involved in subsequent campaigns across Australia, Europe and to Kiev.

I have the luxury this time of an already worked out detailed route from Kiev through Russia to Nur Sultan. That's going to save many man hours of planning. I also have the benefit of knowing what is involved in running unsupported with Chappie. The were some valuable lessons learned during stage five in 2018 which will be put to very good use in the future.


I'll be doing more work this time to ensure Chappie arrives safely and without any customs issues in Ukraine and then back again from Kazakhstan. Regular readers will remember how help from the British Embassy and a chance meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury was needed in Belgrade in order to get Chappie released from Serbian customs in 2018. I'll be doing all that I can to avoid that scenario again!


Time also needs to be spent finding the correct level of commercial sponsorship to make stage six worthwhile. Stage six will see the least amount of "tour costs" than any of the other non UK stages. There must be a significant amount of money though for St Benedict's Hospice. This is hugely important.

Given the experience gained in the past and work already undertaken, I'm convinced that there is enough time to devote to getting the required level of fitness to make stage six a success. It won't be easy and I feel that there will be little margin for error or complacency. It's going to take an unprecedented amount of effort and discipline to get to the start line looking like the athlete Run Geordie Run should be. I've failed at this more than I've succeeded in the past as the image below shows. 


My personal dream of raising at least half a million pounds for local good causes remains a very realistic one. The desire to repay the debt of gratitude to St Benedict's Hospice is as strong as it was in 1993.

The overall fund currently stands at £326,897.15. There are so many people to thank for making that possible. The generosity of so many has been incredible. Chances are that if you're reading this, then you are one of the many who have donated. Thank you!

As you can see from the image below, some donations have already been made this year. There is a very long way to go to reach the target of £50,000 that I've set for stage six. If you'd like to sponsor my efforts then please visit my Virgin Money Giving page here



Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Team Run Geordie Run

Team Run Geordie Run was setup in 2010. Its sole purpose was to use the Run Geordie Run brand to attract people to raise funds for St. Benedict’s Hospice who otherwise would not do so by taking part in the Great North Run. 

For the first five years, runners who had secured their own place in the Great North Run made up the team. £7000 was raised for St. Benedict’s Hospice and subsequently The Children’s Foundation during this time. The average size of the team was five people who did very well to raise the sum that they did. 

It wasn’t until SOS Group got involved in 2015 that Team Run Geordie Run’s fundraising was taken to a whole new level. This was achieved by using a combination of charity places secured by The Children’s Foundation and a small sum of money provided by SOS Group to reduce the cost of entry and also provide a quality finish line goodie bag and commemorative t-shirt or vest. 
The reduced entry cost appealed to more runners than had shown interest in previous years. As a result, from 2015 – 2018, the average size of the team grew to 25.  £12,048.50 was raised in 2015 for The Children’s Foundation and SOS backing proved to be a huge success straight away. It seemed to be a classic case of “speculate to accumulate”.  

In 2016, the retention of some of the 2015 team together with some new runners saw £10,000 raised for The Children’s Foundation. SOS Group paid the entry fee for those high performing fundraisers in 2015 and this helped to continue the higher than average total raised per person. A slightly higher spend by SOS Group in 2016 saw the goodie bag contain a golden bottle of Prosecco. This helped commemorate the Olympic games of that year. Medals were also given out to the top three Team Run Geordie Run finishers.

Once again, SOS Group paid entry fees for high earning fundraisers in 2017. This saw an increased retention of runners from previous years as well as the highest number of new runners. 2017 was the biggest team to date and £18,684.10 was raised for The Children’s Foundation. This particular year saw four exceptional fundraisers raise £8,000 of the final amount between them.


The formula for success was repeated again in 2018. In line with the main Run Geordie Run campaign, it was St. Benedict’s Hospice who provided the Great North Run charity places this year. SOS Group helped to reduce the cost of entry fees to those people who signed up early. They also paid for the ever popular finish line goodie bag as well as the dashing Team Run Geordie Run commemorative t-shirts and vests. 2018 saw the highest average amount raised per person. With a slightly smaller team, £10,561.62 was raised.


It took Team Run Geordie Run five years to raise £7,000. Since SOS Group got involved, a further £51,294.22 has been raised over the last four years. This means that, to date, an amazing £58,294.22 has been raised for St Benedict’s Hospice and The Children’s Foundation by Team Run Geordie Run runners.

There is always a healthy pressure for Team Run Geordie Run to raise a five figure sum for local good causes these days. With the likes of SOS Group backing the project hopefully this will continue for years to come.