Tuesday 21 August 2007

Day 46 - Thanks to the likely lads!

After 47 days of first class publicity and exposure I've finally disappeared off the NUFC.COM home page. Apart from attracting over £16,400 in additional sponsorship, it's been brilliant to see what I've been up to from the supporters point of view.

I'll never be able to thank Niall and Biffa enough for their invaluable help. They backed me unquestionably right from the start and raised the profile of the run to a level that I could only dream about. As I mentioned earlier, the readers of their site were generous enough to put their hands in their pockets to the tune of £16,400!

I had anticipated doing a lot more canvassing and pestering on the run for sponsorship. The pressure was completely taken off me in this respect and I was able to concentrate on actually doing the run thanks to the generous NUFC.COM readers.

It all started earlier in the year with an article that saw a few hundred quid pledged. It wasn't until July 6th, though, when they wrote an article entitled "Local Hero" asking for further pledges to help achieve the target of £5000.

They were very quick indeed to pick up on my blog site updates and apply the latest news to NUFC.COM. July 11th saw me get top billing on the site with the headline "Ton up kid!". At this point I'd passed the 100 mile mark and the sponsorship had passed £11,000.

The coverage on July 13th was exceptional and the headline "Derby victory for birthday boy" made both the victory over my mackem challenger and my 36th birthday so much sweeter. The article went on to explain "Toon fan Mark Allison continued the John O'Groats to Lands End run that he started on Saturday, with Friday seeing him trounce a mackem work colleague over a marathon distance.". At this point the £12,000 mark had been passed with more than £4,000 coming from NUFC.COM readers.

"Epic runner Mark Allison gets to sleep in his own bed over the next few days, as he progressed through the border country..." was the start of an article entitled "Run for Home" on July 18th. The fund was bulging at over £13,000 with donations of over £5,000 coming from NUFC.COM readers.

The Geordie public must have feared the worst, on July 25th, when they read "443 miles gone on his John O'Groats to Lands End run and Mark Allison has played his joker on day 19 by opting to take timeout spare day to rest his battered shins and hamstrings. Fear not though as this contingency day was built into his punishing schedule - and he'll be back on the roads tomorrow to press on for Cornwall and those much-awaited beers (he's been on the wagon all this year in preparation for this).".

On August 3rd, as news of Newcastle United's amazing invitation to do a lap of honour broke on NUFC.COM, the £16,000 barrier was "shattered".

As I got closer to the finish line, on August 11th with the headline "Lands Ahoy", it seemed that pledges of £20,000 were a realistic possibility.

As I crossed the finish line the next day, over £22,000 had been pledged with the headline "No words required" on NUFC.COM. Due to a loss of mobile phone signal I was unable to update my website with news of my success. One quick text to Niall and Biffa was all that was needed and their site carried news of the finish more or less straight away. They went on to explain "Those of you keeping track of his progress via the blog will get the full details when the lad is back in signal range - but we can tell you that he finished in one piece, is in great form and that first pint of 2007 didn't touch the sides.".

The end of the run didn't, by any means, signal the end of the coverage. NUFC.COM's Aston Villa pre-match build up carried the news of the lap of honour and the hope that the fund would reach £25,000 by that time. And reach £25,000 it did!!! At the time of writing this blog entry, the fund stands at a most remarkable £25,375. £16,400 of which has come from NUFC.COM readers.

So, I'm sure you'll agree, that a massive amount of credit and thanks are due to Niall and Biffa. I've often spared a thought for them over the years, given the volume and frequency of updates on NUFC.COM and the fact that they hold down regular jobs. The service that they provide the Toon community is invaluable. Ultimately, the service that they gave to myself and St Benedict's Hospice proved to be just as invaluable.

Thanks lads!