Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The biggest test so far

It's a whole 6 months since that punctured tyre caused me to fall off my bike, breaking my right ankle. The resulting operation to insert 2 pins into the ankle seemed like the right thing to do at the time. 6 months down the line that decision now seems like a masterstroke and I'm well on the way to getting the strength, that I had in May, back in my legs.

Following a good period of rehabilitation I'm happy to report that The Paddy Power Bionic Ankle ™ is in absolutely superb fettle. In fact, it is almost the same shape as my other ankle. Since my return to running following the period of rehab, my training has been going well with plenty of long runs. Despite being very slow, I've never been in any danger of failing to complete the distances I've attempted. An added bonus is the fact that the day following a long run I feel that there has been very little pain and stiffness in my legs. The time is, therefore, right to step things up and see precisely where my endurance and recovery levels lie. In an attempt to do just that I will be running from Edinburgh to Newcastle this weekend.

This Friday at 9 am, I will be accompanied by 2 other runners and a cyclist as we start our journey from Edinburgh Castle to the Keep in Newcastle. This latest configuration of "Team Run Geordie Run" will take 3 days and 105 miles to complete this cold, dark and damp run. I regard this particular event, which I'm calling the Castle to Keep Challenge, as far and away the biggest test I've had in the build up to USA 2011. In fact, it's probably the biggest test since I ran from John O'Groats to Lands End back in the Summer of 2007.

Team Run Geordie Run for the Castle to Keep run will consist of veteran Mike Lewis, club runner Ian Young and myself running. We'll be supported by Carlton Fletcher on his bike carrying "1 or 2" of our luxury items in his panniers.

Had I not broken my ankle then this event would have happened in August. As it turns out it has to be done in more difficult conditions. For one, it's going to be one hell of a lot colder than August with less daylight hours. This is my main concern and good discipline will be needed to set off on time each day. We need to give ourselves a good chance of finishing each of the 3 days in daylight so 9 am starts will be on the cards each day, if not earlier.

Unlike myself, Mike and Ian are built like runners. They are both about the size of a Hobbit and are very good when it comes to speed and distance. I fully expect these 2 to be finished well ahead of me on each of the 3 days, Thankfully, Carlton will be around on the bike to ensure I get to the end safely (won't you Carlton?).

Over the course of the 3 days, I'm expecting thousands of hits on this website (mainly via publicity from www.nufc.com) and lots of interest on Twitter. With that in mind, I'm currently looking for a sponsor of this run with all proceeds to be split between The Children's Foundation (Charity No 1000013) and St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410). The run will be known as "The INSERT YOUR NAME HERE Castle to Keep Challenge".

The event and your name/company name will get mentioned on this website, on my Twitter page (currently 3,495 followers), on Facebook (currently 1550 followers and over 400 friends) and there is a very good chance that it will be mentioned on www.nufc.com.

If you'd like to sponsor the run then please drop me a line with your bid amount at sponsorship@rungeordierun.com. Bidding will close at 12pm on Thursday and will be done via email and via my Twitter page. I'll post regular updates on this blog with regard to how the bidding is going,

I realise that it's the excellent Children in Need event this Friday but we have some children in need of our own right here in the North East so please support The Children's Foundation and of course St Benedict's Hospice. Get bidding folks and help make this weekend's journey a success.

This is the route Team Run Geordie Run will be taking. Click on it to be taken to Google Maps.

Day 1 of the Castle to Keep Challenge is from Edinburgh Castle to Melrose. Day 2 is from Melrose to Otterburn. Day 3 is from Otterburn to the Keep in Newcastle.