Monday 28 June 2010

The Running Mag

This parody of  the Arnie movie "The Running Man' was sent to me by Twitter follower Richard Bateman (aka @RichieB85). It did make me giggle when I first clapped eyes on it.

If you're as handy with Photoshop as Richard and would like your Run Geordie Run parody featured on this site, then please send your images to Thanks to Richard for his efforts.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Route planning continues

The job of planning the route across the USA continues and 57 of the 100 days have been planned in great detail so far. 57 days takes me up to 26th June 2011 and well into the Summer in the state of Kansas with 1767 miles run. That's the equivalent of doing my 2007 run from John O'Groats to Lands end twice!

As the temperatures soar in the Summer months on the run, perhaps our intrepid "lercel hero" Geordie would have to change his running attire. The very talented illustrator, Gary Hogg, thinks that he might go for a bit of headwear like the one above. Smart!

The route should be finalised within the next 2 weeks. I'll then turn my attention to recruiting for the support team. If you would like to apply to join the team then the application form can be found by clicking here.

A bit of a Twitter challenge going on

I was recently contacted by a company called Digital Spark Ltd who were looking to support local causes. The two charities I raise funds for and the challenge I'm undertaking to run 3100 miles across the USA really captured their imagination.

They fully intend to get behind my run across the USA in 2011, but in the meantime have thrown down somewhat of an on-line challenge.

Two weeks ago they said that they would donate £100 if I could manage to reach 1000 followers on Twitter before the end of June.

I'm pleased to report that, with a lot of help of my existing Twitter followers, I managed to reach 1000 followers on Twitter and £100 is on the way to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.

The good news didn't stop there, however, as Digital Spark immediately threw the gauntlet down and challenged me to reach 2000 followers before the end of July. They upped the ante this time and if successful, £200 will be on the way to the 2 charities. What price 3000 followers or more I wonder?

Many thanks to Digital Spark Ltd for their support who had the following to say -"We are a passionate and talented team who love to work with like minded clients. Our team of specialists can work with you to deliver transformational change for your business in the online world. Whether that be out on the internet or within your organisation, we have the expertise and history to help you achieve your goals and give you the competitive advantage.".

If you would like to follow me on Twitter and help unlock the charity cash then please click here.

Saturday 26 June 2010

What's it all aboot?

For those of you visiting for the first time this item should hopefully go some way to explaining what the 3100 run across the USA is all about and why I'm doing it.

Where and when is the next sponsored run?

My next sponsored run is to be done along a 3100 mile route from the west coast (Pacific) to the east coast (Atlantic) of the USA. The run starts in Huntington Beach, California and finishes in New York City.

I will be running through a total of 15 states. The runs takes in unforgiving heat in the Mojave Desert and relentless climbs in the Rocky mountains with a summit of 11,307 ft (Berthoud pass).

The run starts in May 2011 and will be done over the course of 100 days. I will therefore be running 31 miles a day on average.

Why are you doing it?

The primary motivation for running 3100 miles across the USA is to raise funds for 2 local charities. The first, St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410), cared for my Mam during her final days battling cancer in 1995. Ever since then, I have tried to repay the debt of gratitude I feel towards the Hospice and the staff.

The second charity is The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013). I have a young family myself and I'm very proud to contribute to a charity that cares for the health and wellbeing of so many children in the North East. It is estimated that, last year, the charity touched the lives of over 90,000 children.

Who is funding the run?

All expenses associated with the run are coming out of my own pocket. I have already turned down offers of financial support and those funds have gone to the 2 charities. It's so important to stress that every single penny raised will go to the 2 charities. Nobody, but the 2 charities will benefit financially from the run across the USA.

Will you have a support team?

I hope to have a team very similar to the one that supported me so successfully in 2007. We will have mobile accommodation for the entire run.

What is your fundraising target?

I'm not normally one for setting fundraising targets but an event of this magnitude simply has to have one. Given that £34,108 was raised during my last run from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2007 the USA 2011 run has a fundraising target of £50,000 (£25,000 for each charity). It's a massive target and with the help of so many generous people out there it's one I'm confident of achieving.

How are you fitting the run across the USA around your normal family/work routine?

The answer to this one is a bit extreme. I'll be quitting my job before I start the run and looking for work when I get back to the UK. This is a massive risk as, like everyone else, I have bills to pay.

A bigger sacrifice than that though is the fact that I will not see my family for just over 3 months. My son, Jack, will be 8 when I run across the USA. It pains me to think about being apart from him for so long.

How much training will you be doing?

Training for the USA 2011 run started in November 2008. Since then I have 3000 miles with various distances, terrains and speeds. I have managed up to a maximum of 120 miles in a week, so far, and up to 37 miles in a single session. I've yet to pick up a major injury from running. I did, however break my ankle in May 2010 while riding my bike on the C2C route.

I now have a "bionic ankle". In other words, I had 2 pins inserted into it to give me a good and speedy recovery.

After a successful period of rehab on my ankle, the focus in 2010 will be continuing to learn how to recover after running the big miles day after day. By the end of the year I hope to be able to run 7 consecutive days of 31 miles without too much fuss.

How can I donate to your chosen charities?

Donations can be made at for St Benedict's Hospice or for The Children's Foundation.

Run Geordie Run t-shirts are available to buy for £10. The full £10 goes to the charities. Yep! Every last penny of your £10 for a t-shirt goes to the charities. This is thanks to Peter McCowie and paying for their production. T-shirts can be paid for via or by cheque direct to the 2 charities. Pleas order here.

There is also a Run Geordie Run charity album especially written and recorded by The Exiles. It can be downloaded here.

Each mile of the run can be dedicated to a lost loved one in the "3000 scheme".  More details here.

Friday 25 June 2010

Another Run Geordie Run "Concept drawing".

The very talented Gary Hogg and I have been in discussions today, putting together the conceptual world that our intrepid "lercal chariddee hero" will be found living and breathing in in a publication near you very soon.

Of course, there will be parody-type comparisons made with the Forrest Gump character and the scenarios that he found himself in. Rest assured though, that they will all have there own unique Geordie twist with a lot of good old fashioned clean comedy to boot.

You'll find, from time to time, that the storylines will mirror what's going on in the real world of Run Geordie Run. For example, broken ankles, rehab, run ins with the trainers for eating too many Peter's Pies as well as all of the adventures and characters that I will run into while running across the USA. And if it's anything like my run from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2007 then there should be a few adventures and characters to talk about.

The above conceptual drawing should give you a flavour of what The Adventures of Run Geordie Run is "arl aboot". I can exclusively reveal that Geordie will be telling his story from a park bench while waiting for a bus. Sound familiar? There may well be some surprise guests on that bench too from time to time! 

I for one, can't wait to find out how his story across the USA unfolds!

Thursday 24 June 2010


Oh dear! It looks like our intrepid local charity hero "Geordie" has had a bit of an accident in training! I fear that "Big Dave the Porsonal Trainer" won't be "owa happy" with his antics! 

Never fear though as, while Geordie is only able to "hobble aboot", he's on a strict diet. His specially appointed dietician, "Russell Sprout" will be making sure that our favourite local charity raising runner doesn't scoff "owa many Peter's Pies".

But seriously folks, the very talented illustrator Gary Hogg and I have been thrashing about some ideas today. We have already secured some space in a major selling monthly local publication (more news on that when I'm able to share it). Soon you'll be able to read all aboot his charity antics!

Gary is working on some comic strip situations that loosely mirror the recent goings on in the world of Run Geordie Run. Hence, the above concept image of Geordie, The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast and those blummin' crutches!

If you are involved in a printed publication and would like to include "The Adventures of Run Geordie Run" in your pages then please drop me a line at

There will be more news on our canny runner "Geordie" and his adventures soon, but in the meantime I would really appreciate it if you would visit Gary Hogg's website. Gary is donating all of his time for free and I really appreciate that. I've got a couple of his books on the way and a colouring book for the Bairn.

There's plenty of canny stuff on his site that would make ideal gifts for local and exiled Geordies alike. Gary's site is here.

Run Geordie Run on iTunes

The 2 charity songs written and recorded especially for Run Geordie Run by The Exiles are continuing to sell well in iTunes.

The Exiles (aka Alan Millen and Tim Readman) kindly donated their time for free and even paid for the recording studio out of their own pockets.

I took delivery of the final songs back in 2009. The first track I listened to was "Runner on a Lonely Road". Within the first 10 seconds of listening to it I couldn't believe just how catchy it was. Brilliant! This was a song that delivered a message of never ever giving up and getting to the finish line against all the odds! Intertwined in all of that was also a message that the run would be done in memory and dedication of those people who were dearly important to the runner. This is evident in the lines of the song that start "I'll go another mile for.....".

Next up was Beneath The Angel's Wings Once More. This beautifully written and performed piece is a lot slower in tempo than the first track and opens with the line "I'm a Geordie Boy a long way from home....". It tells a story of a lad on a very testing journey and once again there is a theme of sheer determination and of never giving up which is explained lyrically as " surrender, no turning back". If the first song was about the run itself then this song talks more about the return home to the North East of England. "and when it's over, I'll walk through that old familiar door, home at last, the day I stand, beneath the angel's wings once more." is a line I certainly look forward to being a reality.

If there's one thing that you soon realise when you listen to the Exiles' songs it's that they don't half know how to relay a good story. Back this up with that seemingly familiar Geordie "twang" in Tim's vocals and you've got a recipe for some quality tunes that us common Tyneside folk can really relate to and in our mind's eye be a part of.

You can buy the 2 songs from iTunes by clicking here. As per usual, all profits go to the 2 charities.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

The Wales Marathon - an outside chance!

Back in March I reported that "I was very flattered this week when I was invited, by the organisers, to take part in the very first Wales Marathon.". 

The Wales Marathon takes place in September and  "the course will start in Tenby and follow the coast road out and turn at Manorbier beach under the castle! Then the course will return via the ridgeway, with stunning views accross the bay, before finally finishing in Tenby's Tudor square.".

Of course, plans for my participation were scuppered when I broke my ankle last month. However, the Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast is due to be taken off in 12 days time and there is still an outside chance that I could be "some kind of fit" to get round the course in September. I certainly won't be breaking any records!

The great news is that the organisers, Activity Wales, have offered to donate £5 of every entry made on-line using the code "GEORDIE" to The Children's Foundation and St Benedict's Hospice.

The application form is here.  I hope, very much, to see you there in September.

The adventures of Run Geordie Run

Ok, so it's just a working title at the moment, but very soon you'll be able to read all about "The adventures of Run Geordie Run" in comic strip form. Yep, you heard it here first! 

Local illustrator, Gary Hogg, has agreed to donate his time and produce a Run Geordie Run comic strip. I gave him the very short remit of producing "a cross between Billy Whizz and Andy Capp". The resulting character is what you see above. One of my followers on Twitter (SlabSquatthrust) commented "Love it! Looks like Andy Capp has been hitting the gym!!!".

As soon as I saw the final drawing I found myself wanting to know more about this character. Does he have any pals? What is he going to get up to? What will his first words be?

At the time of writing, I have already had one major local publication agree to include the comic strip. This is amazing bearing in mind that this has gone from initial idea to concept drawing to an agreed character in less than 24 hours.

The aim is to entertain with a short cartoon strip as well as delivering a message in the spirit of Run Geordie Run. I'll reveal more news about where you can read all about his adventures when I can. You'll also see him popping up on this blog from time to time when the occasion merits it.

More on "Run Geordie Run" soon, but in the meantime I would really appreciate it if you would visit Gary Hogg's website. There are a number of really good Geordie related items on his site. They would make ideal gifts for local and exiled Geordies alike. Gary's site is here.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Sponsorship Landmark

Great news! Today, the fund for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation burst through the £11,000 barrier. That's 16,350 in US dollars for my overseas readers (other exchange rate conversions are available on request!). 

A donation of £30.32 by Paul Smith (aka The Twitchhiker) got the charity fund to exactly £11,000. A subsequent donation from Steve Lank ensured that the charity fund didn't stay there long and it currently sits proudly at £11,010.

The good thing about the charity fund is that it contains very little in the way of traditional pledges to be paid upon successful completion of the run. Out of that £11,010, a whopping £9,870 has already been passed to the 2 charities. At the time of writing, £1,140 is due to be collected after the run. £1,000 of which is a very generous pledge from Ivor Potter.

Rest assured, I'll be working very hard to earn the money already paid and that which is to be paid at the end of the run across the USA. 

All that is really left for me to say is a massive THANK YOU to everybody who has contributed to the 2 charities so far. Your support is very much appreciated.

The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast

Sponsorship of my plaster cast brought additional funds to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation 2 weeks ago. It is, of course, now known as "The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast".

But who is Grant Edwards and who if the sponsor behind the cast? It is more significant to Run Geordie Run and the run across the USA than you may initially think. 

The sponsor is Shelli Mayfield and she lives in North Carolina, USA. It's a long old way from Tyneside but that hasn't stopped her from having a real affection for Geordies after she met one (Grant Edwards) some years ago. I'll let Shelli explain.

"I don’t remember when I met Grant exactly. It feels like I have known him my whole life. We met thru a mutual work acquaintance and just clicked instantly. It was like we’d always known each other. When I came to England last summer to attend Oxford, he treated me like I was part of his family... like I was his sister. He took it upon himself to drive from Newcastle to Oxford more than once in the month I was there to check on me, make sure I had everything I needed and that I was being treated up to his standards. That really cemented our friendship and my opinion of Geordies into what it is today.

While I found the people of England to be courteous on a pretty consistent basis, the Geordies I have met take that to a whole new level. They are the friendliest bunch of people I know. Most would do anything they could to help another (you are a prime example of that). Geordies are loyal; just watching their devotion to NUFC even through their demotion to the Championship. As a diehard Red Sox fan, I can completely relate to that type of devotion. My team went 86 years between World Series Championships but we hung in there and filled Fenway Park faithfully. This is why Grant and I exchanged NUFC and Red Sox gear. If you’re going to be a fan of either of those teams, you have to love them blindly and fiercely.

I also love your dialect. When I was wearing his NUFC jersey through the streets of Oxford, I got some negative comments, especially when they realized I was an American. They would begin to try to convince me I was being misled and I would shut them up by saying, (in my sweetest Southern accent which they all loved) “When you talk it sounds like you have a mouthful of gravel but when a Geordie speaks it sounds like music to my ears.”

I could go on and on about why Geordies are special to me. Geordies in England are a lot like people from the Southeastern part of the USA where I am from. We catch a lot of flak from the rest of our country about our dialect and our customs because they don’t understand them. We are viewed as perhaps less intelligent than most and certainly less refined. The reality is we are a sector of people that love deeply, believe in family and hard-work and traditions. We cling to our roots with pride and could care less whether the rest of the country approves. We speak our dialect with pride and when daunted we smile sweetly and refuse to argue with those we deem not worth the explanation. We are, in fact, some of the most well educated in our country but we don’t flaunt it and therefore it isn’t well known.

He (Grant, pictured above with Shelli) reminded me of my hard-headed, full of male pride brothers at that moment and I loved him for it. I admire his culture and language and he loves me for that. He told me recently I was now a hybrid Geordie… half Southern American, half Geordie. I consider that to be one of the best compliments ever.".

The sponsoring of my cast and subsequent dedication to Grant, by Shelli, is quite fantastic really. The bond between Shelli and Grant and thus Tyneside and USA is one I'll be going all out to cement further during my 3100 mile journey in 2011. 

Thanks again to Shelli Mayfield for sponsoring The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Lots going on behind the scenes

There's been a bit of a lull on the Run Geordie Run blog lately. You may think that there's not much going on at the moment, but you couldn't be more mistaken if you're thinking that. 

As you can tell from the numerous maps on the site, I've plotted the first 50 days of the run in great detail. I'm within 2 miles of the other 2 times I've undertaken this exercise. Accuracy is so important! I hand crafted my  John O'Groats to Lands End route back in 2007 and I that route was exactly as planned at 874 miles. 

It should take me another 3 weeks to finish the route. After that, I'll turn my attention to assembling the Run Geordie Run Support team. I've got 10 people interested in joining the team so far. Of course, I need to assess their suitability and availability, but the signs are good so far based on their application forms. If you would like to apply to join the Run Geordie Run support team then please click here

As you can see from the photo I've started to use weight bearing crutches. I walked 3/4 mile on them last weekend and hope to do a full mile in Tynemouth this Saturday morning. On Tuesday, I taught myself how to go up and down steps. I've only come close to falling over once!

I've said it many times over the last 3 weeks, but I really do have a lot of respect for those people who have to go about their daily life with a permanent disability. With that in mind, I've found it very difficult to complain at all about my condition. 

The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast will be coming off in 2 weeks and 4 days. I'm desperate to start running again but I will only do so when the time is right. As per the previous 3 weeks since the accident, I will be taking and following all of the advice that comes my way. The surgeon, the physios, and my mentors Dave Fairlamb and Mark Fleming will have my upmost attention during the next phase of rehab!

On the fundraising side I'm very pleased to announce that, after a few weeks of searching, I've found a main kit sponsor. It goes without saying that all proceeds from this deal will be shared between St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. 

Just like a few other commercial sponsors that I have, I had the option of putting the income towards the cost of the tour. As regular readers of this blog will know, that's not how we at Run Geordie Run do our fundraising. I'm paying for the cost of the USA tour out of my own pocket. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT ALL FUNDS RAISED GO TO THE 2 CHARITIES.

Expect more news and a formal announcement on kit sponsorship in the coming days. 

In other fundraising news, I'm working on getting a donation incentive scheme up and running. This is where a local company will add, say £5, to every £10 pledged by an individual. Again, there'll be more news on this when the deal is done.

I'm sure you'll agree that good progress is being made "off the field". I'm determined to make the most of this quiet period in my training schedule. Despite my lack of running, the effort behind the scenes will be as relentless as ever to make the 3100 mile run a success.

Thursday 10 June 2010

The Run Geordie Run t-shirt makes it to Newcastle (Washington, USA)

The Run Geordie Run t-shirt has, so far, raised thousands of pounds for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. It has been seen on the set of Soccer AM, Soccer Saturday, Live from Studio 5 and on the pitch being worn by the players of Newcastle United. The t-shirt has been spotted in Dubai, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Eygpt, Hong Kong, France and Spain and with the entire Newcastle Falcons rugby squad.

More recently, two of my heroes, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Mark Beaumont have been pictured with the t-shirt. The t-shirt was also spotted during last night's Blaydon Race and I've heard sightings of at least 5 runners wearing them.

The Run Geordie Run t-shirt was seen today in Newcastle. "That's not so unusual." you might say. However, very appropriately, this is the city of Newcastle in the state of Washington, USA. Not only that, but the t-shirt had the honour of being in the presence of some very important figures from the city.

First up, were the Newcastle City Councilmembers (pictured above, from left to right, Carol Simpson, Rich Crispo, and Lisa Jensen.). Next was the City Clerk, Bob Baker (pictured below).

Finally, we have one of Newcastle's finest, none other than the City of Newcastle's Chief of Police, Melinda Irvine (pictured below).

I'd like to thank each one of them for the time they took to have a picture taken with the Run Geordie Run t-shirt and for taking an interest in the 3100 mile run across the USA. Hopefully, news of the t-shirt's appearance will make it into the local newspaper The Newcastle News. Also thanks to Shelli Mayfield for helping to spread the word, stateside.

Watch this space for future appearances of the Run Geordie Run t-shirt as links with many places in the  USA attempt to be forged. 

T-Shirts are only £10 and the amazing thing is that THE FULL £10 goes directly to charity via You might need to read that again. YOU PAY £10 AND ALL OF IT GOES TO CHARITY. That's exactly how we like to do our fundraising at Run Geordie Run and that's how almost £11,000 has been raised so far. T-Shirts can be ordered here.

Monday 7 June 2010

The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast

Success! The Run Geordie Run plaster cast now has a sponsor. Thanks to Shelli Mayfield from the USA for her winning bid and donation to the two charities. She has dedicated the cast to a good Geordie friend of hers.  So, for the duration that it protects my bionic ankle the cast will now be known as "The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast".

Tomorrow, the first task for me and The Grant Edwards Run Geordie Run Plaster Cast will be to learn how to take a few steps, putting only 50% weight on my ankle.

Cast sponsor sought!

I started looking for a sponsor for my new black and white striped plaster cast this morning while waiting for an x-ray in the Fracture Clinic. As well as having their name or company logo on my cast, the eventual winner will get a lot of exposure on my blog, Twitter, Facebook and hopefully in the local press. I was contacted by the Evening Chronicle this morning asking for an interview. I'll be certain to mention it to them when the interview happens.

It goes without saying that all proceeds will go to St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013).

The Run Geordie Run cast sponsorship auction via Twitter started with a £1 bid from @katmckenzie_uk. This was soon followed with a £3 bid from @ELClovesyou.

@davebaldwin upped the ante somewhat with a £13.80 bid. That's 20 US dollars in his currency. It didn't stay at that amount for long and @HowaytheToon bid £20.

"Very pleased with that!" I thought but still I asked for more via Twitter. @katmckenzie_uk came back with a £25 bid. 30 minutes later the auction stood at £30 with a bid from @HighlightsPR. At the time of writing, that's where the auction sits.

Thanks to everyone for their bids. If anyone would like to bid £35 then please get in touch via Twitter or email me at

The Bionic Geordie!

Mark Allison, Geordie runner; a man barely able to crawl. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic ankle. Run Geordie Run will have that ankle. We can make him better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

Sunday 6 June 2010


In the 16 years that I have been doing sponsored events, the generosity of the general public, especially Geordies, never ceases to amaze me.

Saturday evening was the very first ever #tweetupnufc. This was essentially a social meeting of some Newcastle United supporters, who had never met each other before, in The Strawberry pub in Newcastle. Other than our great club, the thing that had brought this particular group together was the use of Twitter.

Sadly, due to my "bionic ankle" bedding in, I could not attend the event. I did, however, send a message on Twitter to one of the organisers, @helush, to ask if it would be possible to have a whipround in aid of the 2 charities. I got a response almost immediately and she said that it was a great idea. There were also a few other messages that day from other attendees who said they would  try their best to raise a tidy sum for charity. 

I suppose it can be quite daunting to attend such an event. I've ran with people who I've met via Twitter before. It's quite a strange feeling to have to introduce yourself to a complete stranger at first. However, I can appreciate where #tweetupnufc attendee @NewcastleDavey is coming from when he blogged "... it wasn’t long before a healthy gathering of like-minded folk were chatting like old friends and discussing all manner of topics, NUFC and otherwise.".

He went on to say "@HuddoHudson hopes the events will help to engage fans. Along with bloggers, the Newcastle United Supporters Trust, local journalists and possibly even the club, the idea is that these events can assist in rejuvenating the social fabric of the club - the fans.".

So what of the whipround? I was really chuffed when I heard that £55 had been raised. £25 was paid to The Children's Foundation and £30 was paid to St Benedict's Hospice via That £30 donation to the Hospice saw the amount raised for them burst through the £5,000 barrier. The overall total for both charities stands at £10,684.68. It is the kind of generosity shown by all of the folk at #tweetupnufc that is going to make a real difference to people's lives in our region.

Thanks to @helush, @huddohudson and @sh**eseats for organising the do and to everyone else who contributed. I look forward to meeting you all and being able to say thanks in person at the next #tweetupnufc.

They tried to make me go to rehab!

The rehabilitation on my ankle break has so far consisted of a lot of lying about with my foot raised, a lot of planning and organisation for USA 2011, some weight training for my upper body and about as much xbox playing as I've managed for years.

It's been almost two weeks since I had 2 pins inserted into my ankle.

I'm due to have a follow up x-ray on Monday and I'm hoping for good news from the consultant. If all is well then the plaster cast will be taken off my right leg in little over a month's time. It is then that the real fight back to fitness will begin.

Rather appropriately, I'd like to highlight a project that that The Children's Foundation are involved in. The 3D motivational sports theatre, situated in The Great North Children's Hospital, will help with the rehabilitation of children in our region. It is something that I heard about a couple of months ago and I've always wanted to write about it on my blog.

As the Operations Director at The Children's Foundation, Caroline O'Doherty, explains - "Due to be fully completed by summer 2010, the Great North Children’s Hospital will be a centre for excellence in children’s healthcare for this region, similar to Great Ormond Street in London.

For the first time, children’s services will be under one roof, including a dedicated accident and emergency department, outpatient area and imaging suite.

The new children’s hospital will be a fantastic resource, where children with life threatening conditions from the North East and beyond, can receive the very best treatment.

The 3D Sports Rehabilitation Theatre consists of exercise machines which are linked to a 3D visual display. The system provides visual motivation for children to carry out physical exercise and thereby promote rehabilitation. The 3D systems also provide enjoyable distraction during periods of normal exercise for patients who are spending long periods of time in hospital. In simple terms, two children can compete against each other and by allocating the children a different colour they can visually see how many 3D objects they create. This allows both the patients and staff to visually monitor and record progress.

We want to make a child’s time in hospital as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Rehabilitation exercise can be painful and can often make children feel anxious. The 3D Sports Rehabilitation Room will allow children to exercise together, compete, have fun, aid their recovery and improve their wellbeing.".

Having spent a few days in hospital recently and being the big softie that I am, I can really understand the need to make a child's time in hospital "comfortable" and "stress-free". I did try to "man up"! Really I did! I've even had to resort to referring to my ankle as "Bionic". I now refuse to say the other B word ("broken").

But seriously, I get the feeling that we are all going to hear a lot more over the coming years about the good work that will be done within The Great North Children's Hospital. In the meantime, as I begin my own rehabilitation, I will be thinking of all of those brave children who will be undergoing their own in the 3D Sports Rehabilitation Theatre in Newcastle for years to come.

Thursday 3 June 2010

Run Geordie Run t-shirts

A new batch of Run Geordie Run t-shirts were printed today by my friends at local printing and design company Please join the hundreds of people who have already bought one and show your support for Run Geordie Run, St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013).

They are available in light blue (sizes M, L, XL) and white (sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL). They are priced at only £10. Thanks to for paying for the production costs, the FULL £10 goes to charity. Yes folks that wasn't a typo. Repeat after me - THE FULL £10 GOES TO CHARITY! That's exactly how we like to do our fund raising at Run Geordie Run.

T-Shirts are screen printed front and back for durability. The 2 charities logos can be seen on the front and the details of the 3100 mile run across the USA 2011 are on the back. 

Run Geordie Run t-shirts can be ordered by clicking the big red button button below. Full instructions on how to pay will appear at the end of the order form. Payment can be made securely using a debit/credit card via or by cheque direct to charity. Either way, the money goes directly to charity. Brilliant! 

Anne Oliver

Behind every successful charity is a very hard working fund raising team. The 2 charities I'm raising funds for, St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation, are no exception.

I recently learned that the Fund Raising co-ordinator for St Benedict's Hospice, Anne Oliver, will soon be retiring. 

I've "worked" with Anne since my Mam attended the Hospice in 1994. She is a smashing lady and works extremely hard with her team, many of them volunteers, to ensure that as many funds as possible are raised and the various events in aid of the Hospice are very well supported.

I'm sure Anne won't mind me telling you that her hard work was recognised by Seaburn Rotary club in 2005. They presented Anne with the Paul Harris Award for her services to the community. 

I think she also deserves an award for having to look her absolute best at all times. There can be no "bad hair days" for Anne as she is often called upon to receive a cheque for the Hospice with the local newspaper in attendance.

Anne was the first fundraiser at St Benedict's Hospice in 1994 when all the fundraising office contained was a desk, a chair, and a telephone. The fundraising team later expanded with 2 part time secretaries, Lisa and Jean. Jean has also recently announced her retirement. 

Over the years the fundraising has continued to grow with the Hospice Calendar, Christmas Cards and other promotional items being delivered all over the world. 

In 2007, I was lucky enough to receive a fantastic award (pictured) from St Benedict's Hospice in recognition of the £34,108 that was raised during my run from John O'Groats to Lands End. My son, Jack, received a similar award and I hope it inspires him to follow in my footsteps (not literally!) when he's older.

I managed to catch up with Anne the other day and this is what she had to say.

What do you like most about your job? Every day is different. I have been to places I had never been to before and have met many interesting and generous people. I am always amazed at the events people organise in order to raise funds for the hospice and also the support which we get for our own events i.e. the Christmas Lights, calendars, Christmas cards etc. The commitment of people who have been connected with the hospice either as a patient, a relative or a friend cannot praise the hospice enough for the services which they have received.

What has been the biggest change in the Hospice in all of those years? The hospice moved from Havelock Hospital to Monkwearmouth Hospital in 1994. The facilities were much improved at that time. 

In 2004 the hospice was again refurbished and the result is what you see today, modern d├ęcor, light and airy rooms with private facilities. 

The services have also increased with the most recent being the expansion of the Out of Hours Service which provides choice and a service to patients with cancer and other life limiting conditions, wishing to be cared for in their own home. 

The public see a building on Newcastle Road which they know is the hospice but they do not realise that it provides a vast number of services. The in - patient unit has 12 beds and we have a 12 place Day care unit, a Lymphoedema clinic, a Lecturer Practitioner, Specialist Palliative Care nurses working in the community, 3 medical consultants, a palliative care social work team, a chaplain , volunteers and the Fundraising Department. Other members of the team include a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a pharmacist and a hairdresser.

We first met in 1994. What differences have you seen in me as a fundraiser since those early days? Since I first met you at our charity shop in Washington you have gone from strength to strength. I have watched your progress over the years starting with the first Great North Run which you ran for us in 1994 and am constantly amazed at what you think of for the next event. You have certainly come a long way and I feel privileged to have been part of your life whilst you progressed and to know that you have never forgotten the hospice. 

You also have met some very interesting people and some very loyal people but the ones that stick in my mind is your Aunty Joyce and her family who have always given you their support and the little group who were always waiting with me at the end of your runs, and last but not least your wife Katy and son Jack. 

Through your sheer determination and commitment you are now a national figure whose progress is followed by a vast number of people and I am proud to see the hospice logo on everything you do.

What plans do you have for your retirement? I do not have any specific plans for my retirement but I know that we will be spending more time walking in Wensleydale. We have a caravan based in Constable Burton so we will be able to spend more time down there.

Do you have any word of advice for anyone who is thinking of fundraising or volunteering for a charity? Anyone venturing into fundraising should be prepared for hard work. They must also be prepared to work unsocial hours (evenings, weekends, Bank Holidays ) and must be committed to the charity.

I'd like to take this opportunity on my website to thank Anne (and her team) for all of her help over the years. I'll always remember her presence at the end of those Coast to Coast runs in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 when she had a flask of tea and some biscuits for all of the well wishers.

Personally, I think Anne Oliver is a really tough act to follow and a shining example to all fundraisers. Good luck to St Benedict's Hospice in finding a worthy replacement.

Have a very happy retirement Anne and if you're in New York on August 8th 2011, please don't forget to bring a flask of tea and some biscuits!

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Kit Sponsor sought

Run Geordie Run is on the lookout for a main kit sponsor. Do you see that big blank space on the front of the t-shirt? That's where the sponsors logo would go on this particular item. All proceeds from sponsorship would, of course, go to St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013).

I've got a lot of kit from Adidas and this is what will be worn in all future media appearances and during the run across the USA in 2011. 

Based on the number of hits my website gets and the various TV, newspaper and internet appearances so far I can guarantee a lot of good exposure for any company who would like to have their logo on my kit. 

Last month, I featured on the local news programme Tyne Tees Tonight and only last week, of course, I made the front page of the local regional newspaper, The Journal.

I have appeared countless times on the very well respected independent Newcastle United fan site I will feature on that site in the build up and during the actual run itself. receive tens of thousands of hits per day.

Superkrush films have kindly offered to produce an advert for Run Geordie Run. The 30 second version will be shown to users of  the popular UK freeview website There are almost one million members of that site!!

I'm sure there's plenty more coverage to come in the UK. However, the Stateside division of my PR department is working overtime to ensure that the 3100 mile run receives as much attention as possible while I'm in the USA. Given the special relationship the UK has with the USA, I'm really hoping that that I can capture the imagination of the American audience.

The story of the first Geordie to run 3100 miles across the USA in 100 days during the Summer of 2011 raising tens of thousands of pounds for 2 local charities is going to be big news. If your company would like to be heavily associated with that story then please get in touch at

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Run Geordie Run in The Mag

The Summer Special edition of popular Newcastle United fanzine, The Mag, is out on Friday this week.

In this bumper edition, you'll find an interview with Run Geordie Run. I give my thoughts on the ankle break and how it will affect the run across the USA, my opinion on the season just gone, the chances of survival next year and a few words on which players from the past I most admire.

The Mag is available in most local newsagents, priced £3.

Run Geordie Run T-Shirts

Run Geordie Run t-shirts are available for £10, with the full £10 going to charity. Yes! The FULL £10.

If you would like to order a t-shirt as worn by Coca Cola Championship Champions Newcastle United, please click here.