Friday, 7 May 2021

Fixing ankles

I had another scheduled visit to Taylored-fit Physio yesterday. Physio Mark Smith (pictured below) has previously been working on my tight back, painful right ankle and sore right shoulder. I'm pleased to report that since last week's treatment, my ankle has caused me very little pain or discomfort. If I was to put a figure on it, I'd say that it's 95% fixed. After putting up with it for the last 14 months or so I can't tell you how relieved I am to have such a good outcome on it. I have trained through the pain and was quite prepared to do so going forwards. There is a lesson too be learned here! If it's broken, see an expert to fix it. 


During yesterday's session a lot of time was spent on my right shoulder. It can bare weight but I get a shocking pain when it moves in certain directions. There is a lot of tightness there and work will continue next week in this area. I think, again, this has all come about due to the time I've spent working at my desk over the last 14 months. Lockdown hasn't really come into it. The project I worked on would have required that effort regardless. Again, there is a lesson to be learned here. Prioritising work over personal health and well being has taken its toll. What could I have done differently? Taking more regular breaks for one. It's all easier said than done though when you have constant pressing deadlines. Never mind, I'm back on the right track now. I really can't thank Mark enough for the progress that has been made in such a short space of time.

After the session at Taylored-Fit Physio I had a drive over to Stanhope for a visit to an "old friend". Specifically, the aim was to reacquaint myself with a few climbs that I used to train up during the build up to run across the USA. In fact, this particular road was also part of my John O’Groats to Lands End route. 


Despite the bright but freezing conditions, the run went very well. I just about missed the hailstorm that followed. As I stood at the summit of the run (1700 ft approx), I could see the thick black skies in the distance. That served as quite an incentive to get back to my car in decent time. 


The run also gave me a chance to try out my new Brooks Glycerin 19 GTS shoes. While very comfortable, I feel these are going to take a bit of breaking in compared to previous models. There was loads of bounce and cushioning as I've come to expect with Glycerin shoes. They did feel a little stiff and I'm hoping this eases as the miles tick by.


The training day ended with yet another double session at David Fairlamb Fitness. I didn’t feel particularly great during the first session but tried to dig in as best as I  could. As was the case on Monday, I dug deep and found a little extra something to really attack the second session. I really must get a photo taken of me training there next time. It's purely non stop and getting a quick snap is the last thing on my mind.


The sessions were a mixture of strength and cardio work and, as ever, were like no other session that I've ever done before with David Fairlamb. The fact that there is never any repeat of a previous session really does keep you on your toes. I'm all for "mixing it up" as fas as training is concerned. 

It's during these sessions that I've been able to put my ankle though it's paces in recent weeks. Jumping up and down on things, lunging, squatting and lifting have all helped in my recovery I'm sure.

All in all, it was another enjoyable day. The workload is building very nicely each week and, at this current rate, I expect June into July to see an unprecedented amount of training effort. 

In other news, I started looking into a product called Whoop after seeing a few references to it on social media recently. It seems to fill a long standing requirement that I've had. That is that I’m interested to know how well I’m recovering each day. It's not a cheap bit of kit and I did a search for possible alternatives. That led me on to an app called Athlytic which gets its data from the Apple Watch. 

I've been using that app for a few days now and I'm still trying to get my head around it. As you can see from the past week’s data (image below). I’m not giving myself time to fully recover. How could I?


Interestingly, going into Friday’s 42 mile/4509ft bike ride to Rothbury and back with the previous days exertion at only 22% recovered feels quite realistic to me. That’s how I roughly perceived it at the time. I think sleep and hydration influence the figure also. I've also seen other people's stats following their vaccination which affects that number. 

The jury is still out on the Athlytic, how it compares to the far more expensive Whoop kit and what benefit I can get out of it. I doubt it will influence what I do in training. It’s always been about no rest, no recovery for me. That’s a philosophy that has served me well across various continents and I’m not about to change that. 

I think what purpose it will serve will be me trying to influence that recovery number. I'll be mindful of getting enough sleep and ensuring that I drink enough. Putting a figure on exactly how tired I am is going to be interesting personally. Knowing that I'm going to have to dig in even more because I'm not fully recovered from the previous days exertion will be useful. Likewise, knowing that I've had a good recovery will give me the confidence to attack the session. It may be that I ditch this app and continue to train on instinct. Like I said, the jury is out. 

Finally, for today, I'm pleased to announce that Carlton Fletcher will be part of the Stage X support team this summer. Carlton's previous tours of duty include the runs across the USA, Australia and Europe. Carlton's sharp wit has proven as valuable as the camarardarie, ingenuity and general support he has brought to the run around the world so far.

Carlton, pictured below on last week's horrendously tough bike ride, has every trait of the ultimate support person in my opinion. I know that running the 250 mile Stage X route this summer will be tough. I can't imagine that being on the support team will be any picnic.


A favourite read of mine was an email sent from Carlton to his colleagues while supporting the run across the USA in the closing stages. It tells you all you need to know about Carlton and how the Run Geordie Run journey is never a dull one.

"I don't know how he managed yesterday. It started so well, meeting in McDonalds for WIFI and coffee. I bought a couple of steaks for him. Nice! Then, being without proper communications became an issue, and I ended up tearing around the countryside looking for him, to find he was where I had been waiting for him 20 mins earlier. 

So I put the steaks on (I should have been sacked for it not being ready), but we are out of propane. So I whip out the BBQ. It lights. It goes out. It wont light again.And being in a church car park, in the middle of a forest, I thought it was for the best. Ham sandwich anyone? 

Then hills! From nowhere, windy twisty hills up and down, and you cant help thinking someone could have put a road along the valley in a straight line? Just when all was lost, we find a steak restaurant. From there it was 3 miles and wait, etc. On the third of which, mark was greeted by flashing police lights, and me standing by the roadside having my license checked. I was sort of on a exit road from the long winding hill road with no waiting areas. But he was cool about it, and was very interested in Mark's story. I can dine on his exploits for days ahead! Right on cue Mark arrives for handshakes with the Police. 

The next stop was as scary a place as I have been in my life. Forest road, very few cars, mist, crickets, things moving in bushes. And a pair of headlights in the woods pointing at me. With a slight breeze the lights flickered as if movement. I had my weapon of choice to hand - toilet paper. Thank god when the car (poacher?) drove off. And then Mark arrived to call it a night. 

Turn the engine. Dead. Try again. Dead. Emergency backup starter. Didn't start. Poo the bed. Try again, woohoo, we are cooking on gas. Except we don't have any! Oh, and the spin off is the fridge is powered by propane too, so the ham is now off. Dry bread anyone? 

But wait, we are moving, but the petrol light is on! waaa? When did that happen? We are below empty. Quick make it to Morristown for the night and a 24 hour petrol station (ironically, gas station). Pass one, shut. Another, shut. Supermarket car park. Night night, worry about petrol in the morning. Except I couldn't. Starting at 5 on a Monday morning, nothing will be open. Mark will fail, and it's all my fault. Will he still let me have the hotel room in New York? No sleep. 4:30, he's up, so I start to drive him back. Engine, starts first time. Petrol, quarter full, no light! Woohoo. I can let it run empty again before worrying. Will see if i can get to Coney Island and see if there is petrol there perhaps! 

So he is on his way. Cooked breakfast is 2 bananas that have been cooking in the heat of the RV overnight. I smell like roadkill, even with a cold shower yesterday (I told Mark I used the last of the propane on a hot shower just to see the look on his face). The consolation is Mark smells worse. I saw roadkill skunk turning up what was left of its nose at him just now. 

So we meet in McDonalds at 7 miles for more coffee and planning. Keep following him on Twitter, the number one trended person in UK (I know all the terms) to see him at the finish line 23:59 ETC. Now get back to work everyone. This isn't a sideshow."

And the rest, as they say is history. Welcome back to the support team Carlton.


Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Busy times behind the scenes

It's been a very busy and productive week with a fine balance of training and planning going on. On Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting the new fundraising team at St. Benedict's Hospice.  Suzanne (pictured with me below) has been in the post for just over a month and it was Lizzie's 2nd week I believe. I've dealt with many amazing fundraising staff over the years and I could tell straight away that the new team spoke my kind of fundraising language.

I brought Suzanne and Lizzie up to date with the last 28 years of fundraising and how the around the world plans had changed slightly due to the pandemic. 

As I left the Hospice, I realised how different it felt at the "front of shop" without the bistro open and the volunteers helping out. I hear that the Hospice's retail shops have reopened and a return to a new normal of Hospice life will be seen soon.


As well as the hugely important care that the Hospice offers to many terminally ill patients there is another often unspoken of service that it offers. I'm referring, of course, to the chance it gives volunteers, like myself, to help in any way we can. Being able to fundraise, work in a hospice shop, serve in the bistro and the many other tasks that a volunteer undertakes is vitally important. What started out as a personal wish to repay a debt of gratitude that I felt for the care the hospice gave my Mam has grown into so much more. Being a volunteer fundraiser has played an important part in dealing with the grieving process for my parents. After talking to numerous other volunteers over the years, I have come to learn that I am not alone in that. 

Giving free time and expertise and making sacrifices for the benefit of others is the best thing I've ever done. It has given me a purpose when I felt there wasn't one. "What am I supposed to do now?" was the painful sentence that I cried out on March 8th 1995. That was the day that my Mam finally lost her battle with cancer and I felt very alone. I'd spent all of my life making my parents proud. For a short time, I felt that just because they weren't here in person that I would no longer be able to do that. How wrong I was. Everything I do is to continue to make them proud. For every pound that is raised for the hospice, I can't put a price on the personal joy and fulfilment at being a volunteer fundraiser. 

Ultimately, by putting one foot in front of the other and raising funds for the hospice, it is playing a small part in allowing the doctors, nurses and other staff to continue to help make people's final days, weeks, months or years comfortable, well supported and dignified. That is a thing that is never ever lost on me and I've seen the same pride and enthusiasm in the other volunteers that I have met at St. Benedict's Hospice over the years.

I shudder to think how my Mam's final days would have played out without the care and support from St. Benedict's Hospice. We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing hospice movement in this country. We must do everything that we can to make sure that these services continue to help terminally ill people and their families. 

As is often the case, I start writing a few sentences about St. Benedict's Hospice on this blog and end up with a very therapeutic few paragraphs. A huge thank you to Suzanne and Lizzie for their time yesterday. 

After I left the hospice I headed west to Langley Park. As well as being a kind sponsor of Run Geordie Run with a generous donation to St. Benedict's Hospice, Taylored-Fit Physio have offered to keep me in the greatest mechanical shape with regular treatment. The clinic is set in a beautiful old chapel building and it's absolutely beautiful inside with a really fresh modern look. There's a really good 3D walkthrough feature on their website. Click here if you'd like to see more.


I had an initial consultation last week with Mark the physio (pictured below). We mainly discussed my problematic right ankle. I've had an issue down there since last July with lots of swelling forming following any exercise. Having rarely been injured in 30 years of running, this is a strange one. My own opinion is that, since working from home, I've spent a lot of time barefoot or in slippers. I've spent very little time in proper footwear. Also, working long days with only a couple of days off over a 14 month period has seen me become as sedentary as I've ever been. It was no surprise therefore that Mark also observed that I had a very "tight back". 


Following the initial treatment last week I've been moving a lot freer, the ankle pain isn't as severe (but is still present) and Dave Fairlamb even commented on a much better posture in the gym. I think the work I'm doing with Dave has contributed to that also.

Fast forward to this week's visit to Taylored-Fit Physio and Mark's observation was that the swelling around my ankle wasn't as thick as a week ago. This was good news and that perhaps goes hand in hand with the "springier" runs that I've had this week. I actually felt like a runner during Monday's second session which was a 10k effort. In terms of my back, there had been a noticeable difference to my mobility during Saturday's Beach Bootcamp. There is still a lot of work to do but the signs are there that I'm heading in the right direction.

Further treatment on my ankle was given yesterday and I've got to say that the manipulation of my back felt very thorough. I feel very relieved and grateful to have this kind of support. A huge thank you to physio Mark for treatment so far. 

Being the inquisitive soul that I am I was very interested to hear about the other services that Taylored-Fit Physio offer. One of which is something I noticed on their website called "Craniosacral Therapy". At first glance, it looks to a lay person like myself as some kind of head massage. It transpires that there is so much more to it than that and it's used to treat many different conditions in adults, children and babies alike. I bet it would have been beneficial to my Mam who was a regular migraine sufferer. I really can't do the treatment justice on this blog but I suggest that you have a read here about it's benefits and the conditions it can help with.

Now onto Stage X support team news and my relationship with Taylored-Fit Physio is becoming the gift that keeps on giving. I'm very happy to report that they are going to be "lending" me sports therapist Jason "Stobbsy" Stobbs (pictured below), during my 250 mile effort around Northumberland this July. 


Regular readers will recognise Stobbsy from his time on the support team as I ran across Australia and Western Europe. As well as being a highly respected therapist, especially in the North East running community, he has always brought so much more during his time on the Run Geordie Run Support Team.


The Twitter hashtag #stobbsytales became a regular source of amusement in Australia initially. Some of my favourite #stobbsytales moments from Twitter are worth publishing here as a reminder to the camaraderie and merriment that Jason always brings to the team.


The low point in Australia came when Stobbsy and I had no internet connection for days in the outback. We would often read the details on the tins, bottles and packets that the food we were eating came in just  for something to do at meal times. "Ooh, Ooh, this tomato sauce was bottled in Darwin" and similar cries were often heard. 

There is even a Lego Stobbsy figure as part of the Run Geordie Run Motor Home set which support man Carlton made after the run across Australia. 

I don't get tired of saying another huge thank you. This time it's to Jason for once again offering his services on the support team. We've been through a lot of tough miles together already. This summer will be no different.

One final thing to close with today and that's the soon to be printed leaflet that I've been working on. This will be a tri-fold out leaflet that will be used to help spread the message of what Stage X is all about.

Leaflets have always been an important fundraising tool for me. There's a lot of info in them and I hope that they help to bring in even more funds for St. Benedict's Hospice.

That's all for now. There'll be an update on Sunday with (hopefully) news of a good week of training and also the next person who will be joining the support team. 

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Jack's Tea - New Sponsor

When I was consuming a lot of sugary caffeinated energy drinks during the final days of the run across the USA, it led to huge problems. Specifically, I'm more  than convinced that it contributed to the high levels of stress and anxiety that I was experiencing at the time. I would even go as far as saying that I felt very depressed too. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" as Charles Dickens once wrote.

There were 548 miles to run during the final 14 days of the run across the USA. That was a deficit of 131 miles. In other words, I would have to run an additional 9 miles every day during that final fortnight giving an average of 40 miles per day. That wasn't an easy task given that I had already ran over 2550 miles in 86 days. 

The average distance required to finish on time increased during those final 2 weeks. With a week to go 44 miles was the required daily average to run. With only 3 days to go that figure had crept up to a daily requirement of 50 miles (150 miles to go). I then ran 45 miles on days 98 and 99 which left a whopping 60 miles to do on the 100th and final day of the run across the USA.

As we all know by now, the final day in the USA was extremely succesful with that 60 miles seeing me reach the pier at Coney Island bang on time. In fact, the timing could not have been better as I arrived just in time for the Real Radio breakfast show with Gary and Lisa. 

The run finished live on air and the money poured in to St. Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. "It couldn't have ended any better" I remember exclaiming on air. That's very true but the anxiety that I'd endured was absolutely horrendous. Yes, running that far was a difficult task, but I'm sure that the massive intake of sugar and caffeine played a huge part in how bad I was feeling. 

Reaching the finish line, together with the unprecedented levels of public support saw all of those bad feelings disappear. It was like a switch had been flicked. A big stress and anxiety relieving switch at that. 

Would I change any of it? Absolutely not. I do, however, realise that I was extremely lucky to get to Coney Island in 1 piece.


I've noticed similar levels of anxiety towards the end of all of the subsequent stages of the run around the world. I'm glad to say that they have been nowhere near what I experienced in the USA. Australia was bad due to the terribly difficult conditions during what was the hottest summer on record. Western Europe was similar but I also suffered from the performance of some of the support team who just weren't up to the task. I always need to caveat that with saying that it doesn't stop me from being any less grateful for their time. Anyone who volunteers to be on the support team is to be thanked when all is said and done. The buck stops with me for taking them on in the first place.

The most recent run from Belgrade to Kiev (what I now refer to as the Eastern European stage) saw a very low level of anxiety. I was running unsupported, of course, and it was probably the best stage I've ran so far from a mental health point of view. 

While running with Chappie was very difficult, especially through the Carpathian mountains in Ukraine, I didn't expect was just how friendly and supportive the people in Serbia, Romania and Ukraine would be. For every hard time, especially in western Ukraine, there were many many good times. The familiar feelings of anxiety as I approached the finish line in Kiev were definitely there. However, they were at a considerably lower level than ever before. It was quite a relief really and I feel indebted to the people of Ukraine for that.  


So, back to the current day where the only stress and anxiety I'm feeling is usually during the 90 minutes I spend watching Newcastle play! There is a link to the rest of this post, I promise.

I'm very pleased and proud to report that The Northumberland Tea Company are my latest sponsor. There'll be no more sugary caffeinated drinks on the menu for me this summer. Instead, I'll be running the 250 mile route around Northumberland fuelled once again by Jack's Tea
Regular readers may remember that I really enjoyed a cup of Northumberland Tea during the run across Europe. Is it any coincidence that I was a day ahead of schedule after 52 days of running? I think not. 

It is almost 5 years to the day that I met Jack Charlton while doing some publicity for the run across Europe. The local TV did a piece on the motorhome to be used as support during that run. The backdrop was the Angel of the North and making Jack and Lady Elsie Robson a cuppa still ranks as one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Incidentally, some of the proceeds from Jack's Tea benefit The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  


Sadly, it's 9 months since Jack Charlton passed away. I know that he was such a dear friend of Helen and Bill (pictured with me below) from Northumberland Tea. So much so, that they have since renamed their tea in his memory.

There's hardly a day goes by where I don't think about the times that I met Jack. He must be such a big miss to family and friends alike. I hear that Pat, Jack's widow, is doing well and was described as a "remarkable woman" by Helen and Bill this week.

The pictures below were taken when Jack turned up with Helen and Bill to surprise the Support Team after we'd had a preparatory meeting before the run across Europe. The picture that Jack subsequently signed sits in pride of place in my office. It serves as a permanent reminder that such a legendary figure, a World Cup winner no less, took time out to take an interest in my around the world run. I wish my Mam and Dad had still been alive to see that.


Thank you to the very kind and supportive Helen and Bill at Jack's Tea. I wonder how many cups I will get through during the 250 mile run around Northumberland this July? I will be running with their logo on my right sleeve with great pride. 

If you'd like to try Jack's Tea for yourself then you'll find it in a many farm shops in the North East, quite a few local independant retailers and some CO-OPs too. It is also available to order from www.thenorthumberlandteacompany.com.


It seems only fitting to finish this announcement with two of my favourite pictures of Jack. These were taken in Newcastle Irish Centre after our support team meeting in 2016. The final picture simply shows a man, content with life, enjoying a pint. RIP Jack. I'll do you proud this summer.

Monday, 19 April 2021

You'll sleep tonight

I’ve probably put the hardest shift in for nearly 3 years today (I think any day of the run to the Lakes and back towing Chappie would be the equivalent). Outside of running around the world, seldom have I been so exhausted at the end of a day. That’s just how I hoped it would play out. 

What I’m trying to learn, unlike previous training campaigns, is how to fuel myself properly. During the build up to the run across the USA, 30 plus mile training runs were commonplace. The calorie deficit during those days led to an appetite that I failed to control. I basically used to grab any snack available (and lots of them). Needless to say that I started the run across the USA at a whopping 18.5 stone (picture on the left). Of course, it finished up with me weighing almost 6 stone and 30% body fat lighter (picture on the right) but those early days in the USA were even tougher than they otherwise would have been. 


I’m determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past but there is a lot to learn and experiment with. Take today for example. I started the training day with a short, sharp session at David Fairlamb Fitness at 0715. That was a tough start to the day but I gave everything even knowing I had another 3 sessions to get through during the day. Breakfast was fried eggs with spinach and tomatoes. 


I had my usual porridge for lunch in order to fuel the afternoon sessions. The rest of the morning was spent working on the new Run Geordie Run leaflet that I’ll be handing out. I just need to finish the inside fold out. It’s looking really good and tells a good story of Run Geordie Run and where I’ll be running next in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice. 



The second session of the day was a 10 mile run starting and ending at Dave’s gym. I actually managed 9.3 miles before getting back to the gym and walked the rest for a cool down. In theory, it should have been 5 miles out and 5 back. That plan changed when a car clipped my arm between West and East Holywell. I’ve no idea what it was doing driving so close to me on the right side of the road. As either the bonnet or wing mirror hit my left arm I almost slapped myself in the face. To say that I was furious is an understatement. That was compounded when I realised the owner of the white SUV wasn’t going to stop. Probably just as well for them. Although, I’ve never actually had a fight so I could have ended up with more than a sore arm had the driver stopped. I can’t stand injustice and cowardice. I just hope there is such a thing as karma. But seriously, I hope that driver never comes so close to a runner or cyclist as they did with me. 

I didn’t run back the same way after the 5 mile point and stuck to the absolutely superb Wagon Ways of North Tyneside. They are definitely to be explored further some day soon. 


When I arrived back at Dave’s gym I refuelled with a couple of bananas. They were my staple during the run from John O’Groats to Lands End. I think they have become the same again as an alternative to a so called “energy bar”. I enjoyed stretching my legs at a brisk walking pace to get the day’s total to 10. Sessions 3 and 4 were a double session back at Dave’s gym. The third session still had a lot of quality about it. It was a case of this machine, that machine, body weight exercises and so on. The session flew over. 


The fourth and final session of the day was a repeat of session 3. This time however, I really had to dig in. And I mean really dig in to find any quality. It was just a case of survival for the last 20 minutes and I actually felt quite emotional. It’s the kind of emotion that a runner generally experienced towards the end of the Great North Run. I think I was secretly pleased and relieved that I’m making progress. Oh, that and receiving a very nice email from a new sponsor who will be supplying “energy drinks”. More on that later in the week. Suffice to say, that I’ll be unbelievably proud to have their logo on my kit. You’ll see why later in the week. 

So an up and down day although 99% ups and 1% down. Thankfully, tomorrow involves visiting my new sponsor and my scheduled 10 mile run will happen later in the day. I’m sure the Cherry Active that I’ve just had (thanks Active Edge) together with a lot of recovery time will mean I start running in decent fettle tomorrow. 

I’ll close today by saying a huge thanks to Dave Fairlamb for all of the support and encouragement he’s giving me. He was literally, Mickey to my Rocky today. Actually, the final thank you is to Donna. As soon as I got in tonight the tea was ready. Turkey breast steaks and rice went down very well. It wasn’t too big a portion but there were seconds there should I wished. They have gone into a tub for tomorrow’s lunch. 

So with 4500 calories burned (if my gadgets are to be believed) and 1800 consumed I’d say this has been a decent day on the food/fuel front. I could have done with something mid run but it’s a very pleasing day overall. As my Mam and Dad used to say “You’ll sleep tonight”.

PS. News just in..... Just when you thought you were finished for the day. Challenge accepted Apple Watch. 


This is becoming a regular thing. So close to a move goal most days. This can only mean one thing “Hey Siri play YMCA”. 2 verses in and boom. It took a full song one day last week. 


Winning! Zzzzzzzzz........

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Back to Huntington Beach?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that you were standing on a beach in California this morning if you attended David Fairlamb Fitness Bootcamp at Longsands, Tynemouth this weekend. As I warmed up with the other participants, the vibe and general atmosphere took me right back to Huntington Beach. The beautiful blue sky, the paddle boarders, the surfers, the runners and cyclists on the prom as well as the magnificent view of the sea all made for a most unexpected sense of deja vu. 


After a tough week of training which has been underpinned by some much needed good nutrition, it’s safe to say that I was well up for this session this morning. The difference in effort that I can give after eating well to eating poorly is night and day. I’d almost forgotten how much better I can feel even after a week of eating the right stuff in the right quantity at the right time around my exercise. 

The Beach Bootcamp session absolutely flew over. For me, it doesn’t get better than today. A tight session, well ran, plenty of instruction and a great bunch of people to train alongside. Once again, social distancing was made very easy thanks to the amount of beach at our disposal. The weather was perfect which helps massively too. 


It’s thanks to Dave that I’ve continued to enjoy exercising since last summer. There is still a very very long way to go on my own fitness journey but the foundation that’s being put down is going to give me the best possible chance of success. One day, I’ll be stood at the southern tip of New Zealand having ran around the world (it’s 10,200 miles away incidentally) I will absolutely be thinking back to times like these that helped make it possible. 

Wherever your exercise takes you this weekend I hope you enjoy it as much as I am doing right now.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

David Fairlamb Fitness - New Sponsor

What a week for getting commercial sponsors on board it has been for Run Geordie Run! Chapman Ventilation was announced as my main sponsor on Thursday. Soon after that, Taylored-Fit Physio, Steven Bell Property Rentals and D-Line Cable Management also pledged kind support which all goes to benefit St. Benedict's Hospice of course. Active Edge, who have been supplying me with the   Cherry Active recovery drink for 10 years had pledged their continued support at the back end of last week. It all adds up to a quite remarkable set of sponsors. 

As I've mentioned already this week on the blog, these are all family owned and ran businesses. They all share my passion, determination and vision and I'll be going all out to deserve their amazing support over the coming months.

There are now just 2 slots left to fill on the shirt that will be on my back for 50 miles per day as I run the gruelling 250 mile Stage X of the run around the world. This special stage has been inserted into the around the world schedule due to the current pandemic. I'll be going back to Ukraine to tackle the 2100 mile route to Kazakhstan via Russia when it's safe to do so. For now, this "intermediate" stage has been dreamt up to provide a safe local event that is very worthy of sponsorship.

I'm pleased and very proud to announce that the penultimate sponsor this year is none other than David Fairlamb Fitness. I've worked closely with owner David for the last 13 years. He has been a trainer, mentor and very good friend (not to mention Best Man) during that period and has played a critical part during many of my trans continental runs. Dave knows how to get the best out of me and that was very evident back when he helped me claw back a seemingly insurmountable mileage deficit during the run across the USA in 2011.


I've seen Dave turn around a lot of people's lives around through fitness and mentoring over the years. To say that he is more than a personal trainer is an understatement.

I've probably never written about the time during the run across Europe in 2016 when I was running up the Stelvio Pass. The motor home had recently suffered some careless damage that would go on to cost over £10,000 to fix (thank goodness for insurance but I paid £1000 out of my own pocket for the excess!). There was also frequent alcoholic like behaviour on the support team at the time. If running up to 43 miles per day wasn't difficult enough, the performance of those who were supposed to be helping me affected my morale and overall mental health big time. Anyway, I was 8 or so miles up the Stelvio on the Bormio side and I rang Dave while I was running. I told him that I didn't think I could take any more and continuing the run was looking in doubt. I will keep private what Dave said to me that day but suffice to say that I kept on running and successfully made it to the finish line in Belgrade 3 weeks later. 

During the run across the USA I remember Dave being in constant contact, particularly near the end. There was one day in Pennsylvania when I was having a particularly bad time and he arranged for numerous people to ring me up to boost my morale. It was one of those game changing defining moments and I'll be forever grateful. That day was also very humbling as he got Olympian Chris Cook to chat to me. The rest, as they say is history, and with constant contact during the final weeks of that run I made it to the finish line at Coney Island, New York on time.

Fast forward 2 years and Dave was helping me prepare for the run across Australia. The video below are his thoughts on my chances of success, a look back at the run across the USA and the eternal issue of my weight. It's a video that I often revisit and I can't tell anyone how much it means to me to have such a person in my corner. I said earlier that Dave changes people's lives. It's no exaggeration to say that Dave has had a quite profound impact on my life over the years. 

Fast forward to Monday 12th April 2021 and there will be only 90 days until the start of Stage X. After a very time consuming but successful and rewarding work project I'm probably in the worst condition that I've ever been this close to a major event. If it wasn't for Dave's Zoom sessions and the odd long run the situation would be far worse. I say "worst condition" but I still cracked out a 20 miler last week and lived to tell the tale. There is a lot of work to be done however!

I've always trained to be able to get through just the first few weeks of a multi month ultra distance event and never taken care of my weight. When you get those first few weeks over with having, say, ran up to 43 miles (as was the case with the run across Europe) the fitness levels just get better and better and the weight loss is considerable. With Stage X I won't have that. It's 250 miles over 5 days with 15,000 ft of elevation. The previous strategy just doesn't fit. This event will be over before it's began in comparison to previous stages around the world.

Back to the aforementioned date (tomorrow) when I have a session at David Fairlamb's new gym. For me that will be the equivalent of standing on the start line at Huntington Beach in California. It's day 1 of a very long campaign. I simply have to be in the shape of my life come day 91 when I stand on the start line at Bamburgh. It will require unprecedented discipline and the kind of effort that has seen me run almost 10,000 miles around the world so far. I will have my critics and doubters but I'm going to use that to my advantage.

I'm really looking forward to getting started at David Fairlamb Fitness tomorrow at 0715. I'll then be training on my own during the day before returning for a double session later in the day. I'll be straight on the Cherry Active tomorrow night! The video below gives you a sneak peak at Dave new premises. It's got all my favourite bits of equipment in there and I'm really looking forward to getting in the VersaHub for a session on my favourite machine, the VersaClimber.  The lighting and sound in the dedicated studio have been optimised for a fitness class. I don't believe there is anywhere quite like it in the UK.


Thanks to Dave for the continued incredible support. The David Fairlamb Fitness logo fills the final place on the front and back of my running shirt. I'm sure that you'll agree that this is a formidable set of businesses that I'm now representing. We all share the same passion, determination and vision to do what we do well. This very important fact is not lost on me. In fact, I'll be using that sentiment to my advantage over the next 95 days and beyond.


There is now just one more sponsor to reveal. That will be done as soon as I have agreement to use their new logo which I'm very excited about by the way! I think a lot of other people will be too. I can't say any more for now.

Friday, 9 April 2021

D-LINE - New Sponsor

You know the drill by now. A successful family run business that shares the same passion, enthusiasm and vision as myself. That ethos can be applied to my next new sponsor without any doubt. It gives me great pleasure to welcome local cable management company D-Line to the generous list of sponsors who will be helping to make Stage X of the run around the world a huge success for St. Benedict's Hospice

I was really surprised to receive a nice email from owner Paul Ruddick yesterday pledging continued support. D-Line are no stranger to Run Geordie Run. In fact, this will be the 3rd campaign that D-Line have been involved in after Stage 4 across Europe in 2016 and Stage 5 from Serbia to Ukraine. It's brilliant to have them on board for Stage X of  the run around the world which will see me run 250 gruelling miles in 5 days around Northumberland. Of course, the run around the world proper will resume when it's safe to do so with Stage 6 from Ukraine, through Russia to Kazakhstan next on the list.

Back to D-Line where their website explains that they are"... a UK company with a global reputation for innovative cable management products. Our range includes the world’s fastest cable trunking systems, as used by trade and consumers, to hide and protect cables in ways that blend with modern surrounds. Market-leading fire-rated Safe-D Clips secure cables, while eliminating the risk of fires causing potentially fatal cable entanglements. D-Line Cable Tidy and Cable Safety solutions include Cable Protectors that address trip hazards, Cable Tidy Units to contain extension sockets and cable clutter, and popular Cable Organisers Cable Organisers for use in homes and workplaces."

I'm a curious old soul and I've been lucky enough to visit the D-Line premises a few times now. It's situated on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate. I'm a huge fan of innovation and to say that their products are exactly that is an understatement. The factory setup is impressive but for me, it was the warm and friendly nature of the staff that I met that struck a chord with me. I feel very privileged to have met so many kind people on the journey around the world so far. D-Line have become part of that experience in recent years.

As you can see from the image below, the kit sponsorship "jigsaw" is nearing completion with just 2 or 3 spaces to fill.  D-Line now sit alongside Taylored Fit Physio, Active Edge and Chapman Ventilation with Steven Bell Property Rentals keeping St. Benedict's Hospice company on my left sleeve.


I will announce the next sponsor tomorrow which will complete the lineup on the front and back. There is a very special sponsor to go on the right sleeve above the flag of Northumberland very soon. They are currently undergoing a quite outstanding but very subtle branding change which I know people are going to really love. That will get announced as soon as I get the go-ahead. 

There is still space on the right sleeve for a final sponsor and I'll be doing my best to get that filled next week. 

Thank you again to D-Line and all of the other sponsors who have been incredibly generous this week. I'm looking forward to revealing the current Stage X fundraising total on Sunday so please watch this space. In the meantime, if you'd like to sponsor my 250 mile effort, please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun