Thursday 30 December 2010

Happy New Year

As 2010 comes to a close, I'd like to wish all readers a happy new year and all the best for 2011.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

The Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge

As I try and improve my video editing skills ahead of the run across the USA here is a short video from the run back in November 2010.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Thanks (Part 7)

Thanks to everybody who has made a donation, bought a t-shirt, bought or downloaded a CD. £20,325.34 has been raised so far.

Friday 24 December 2010

Thanks (Part 10)

Thanks to Tim Readman and Alan Millen (aka The Exiles) for the production of the 2 Run Geordie Run songs available to download here.

Thanks (Part 9)

Thanks to Gary Hogg for producing the Run Geordie Run cartoon that appeared in The Journal and The Mag.

Thanks (Part 8)

Thanks to Superkrush Films for producing the first in a series of promotional videos. The first of which can be viewed below.

Thursday 23 December 2010

Thanks (Part 6)

Thanks to for their continuing support, advice, help with publicity and for paying for the production of a batch of Run Geordie Run t-shirts.

Thanks (Part 5)

Thanks to the Northern Rock Foundation for their donation to the 2 charities.

Thanks (Part 4)

Thanks to Peter's Pies for their donation to the 2 charities and for supplying me with lots of tasty pastry based treats!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Run Geordie Run says thank you

Well then! Another year is almost at an end which means it's time to say thank you to those kind folk who have helped Run Geordie Run and the 2 charities. Over the next few days, you'll find the blog filled up with posts saying thanks to various folk. Their help and support os very much appreciated.

Thanks (Part 3)

Thanks to Brooks for the supply of shoes and training kit.

Thanks (Part 2)

Thanks to Northern Runner for sponsoring and making a donation to the 2 charities.

Thanks (Part 1)

Many thanks to Paddy Power for sponsoring my "Bionic Ankle" and making a donation to the 2 charities.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Snow joke!

I've been checking for references to my run along the A696 and A68 in a Santa outfit on Twitter. I found this gem from @OliverCoats:

The roadside interview with Jonathan Miles

Many thanks to BBC Newcastle's Jonathan Miles for risking life and limb to interview me on the A696 just south of Belsay on Thursday afternoon.

The full interview can be heard HERE.

There is also an online article HERE.

Ho ho homeward bound

Common sense has prevailed today and it's without any regret that I inform you that Santa is on his way home.

I'm writing this from the warm comfort of the car amidst spectacular scenery in Northumberland.

It's been an amazing incident packed and very challenging couple of days. I'm so pleased that I gave it a try as running with this wintery scenery as a backdrop has been an absolute pleasure.

Friday 17 December 2010

Ho ho hot bath!

What a fantastic day of running! Despite the sub zero temperatures, running through North Northumberland and into Scotland via Carter Bar was a true Winter Wonderland experience.

For the second day in a row the mileage was cut short in the interests of safety. I had managed 18.8 bitterly cold miles before Run Geordie Run supporter Tom Moffitt stopped and offered to give me a lift to Jedburgh. With both the light and temperature fading I gladly accepted the offer. Thanks Tom.

I'm now at the hotel where a hot meal is about 30 minutes away and I've just had a hot bath. Despite the bath tub being Hobbit size (sorry Ian and Mike), it was definitely in my top 5 baths ever! There was even Superdrug shower gel (other brands are available!).

This run has certainly had it's fair share of challenges. Running with no support, a lack of roadside eating places, snow, black ice, lows of minus 5 (so far), carrying all my stuff in a heavy backpack, water freezing up. I could go on. I'm very glad I've given it a shot though. I'm also very glad that I'll have a support team next year in the USA!!

I can't go without mentioning the tremendous support from all the drivers who waved, stuck thumbs up, stopped to ask "what the hell" I was doing and gave Santa a wide berth on the roads these last 2 days.

Ironically, my hotel room has a painting of the start point of this run (pictured). I'll decide where the end point will be later on once I've had a good look at the forecast.

For now, I'm quietly smiling inside at having managed to run 46.8 miles in these conditions unsupported.
Right! Time for that hot meal!

Ho ho hose frozen

As I predicted the pipe in my hydration pack has frozen. Carrying 3 separate bottles was a good idea after all despite the extra weight.

18.5 miles done and starting to get colder.


15.5 done. It's a new definition of cold up here at Carter Bar. I'm going to enjoy the downhill bit now. Ho ho ho.

Come to Santa's Grotto

Santa's Grotto for the next 10 minutes is a bus shelter in Byrness Village. On the menu is a near frozen energy bar and Powerade.

It has been slow going this morning where my bit of the road has usually been covered with ice. I've also spent a lot of time on the narrow stretches stepping off the road to allow the cars, vans and HGVs to pass.

10 miles have been done so far. Carter Bar is 5.5 miles away then it's downhill(ish) to Jedburgh. This picture is my view from the makeshift Grotto.

Santa on the run

Thanks to Tom Moffett for stopping off on his way to Scotland to take this picture.

Ho ho hotel donation

Thanks to the Butterchurn Guest House in Otterburn for donating the room charge to the charity fund. Much appreciated.

It's 0930 and 13 miles to Carter Bar. It's freezing up here but at least I've only got 26 miles to run and not the scheduled 39.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Evening Officer!

I finished running this evening in dark and icy conditions 4 miles short of Otterburn. Northumbria Police had reports of a car crash as well as some chap dressed in Santa on the A696. Putting 2 and 2 together, one kind police officer decided to search for that chap who was "probably on his way to a Christmas party dressed as Santa".

The officer found me and recommended that I should run no further due to the worsening conditions. So it was a police escort finish for this particular Santa.

We had a giggle in the car about it and I brought him up to speed with all things Run Geordie Run. So it was an unplanned 28 mile day for me today. The final few hours in the dark were some of the coldest temperatures I've ever ran in.
I've had a good look at the forecast for the next 2 days and in the interests of my safety I'm cutting tomorrow's mileage down to 26. That will mean finishing in Jedburgh instead of Melrose.

Getting to Edinburgh in 3 days is now no longer a possibility or even a necessity for that matter. This is something I discussed with my mentor, Dave Fairlamb, the other day and I'm prepared for this "failure".
I'll make a decision on Saturday's mileage when I finish running tomorrow.

It's been quite a day, ending up with an appearance on the local news. I would have missed it, if it wasn't for the lift from one of Northumbria's finest.

The smiles and waves directed at me, throughout the day, will live long in the memory. As will the journey made by Mr and Mrs Allen to drop a fiver sponsor money off.

The roadside radio interview I gave to Jonathan Miles will be on his show tomorrow morning on BBC Newcastle. 

It's been a great PR day for Run Geordie Run today. There's certainly been some good material created for a book. Watch this space in January for more news on that.

In the meantime, I'll sign off from this cosy little B&B in Otterburn. I'm hoping for a fairly incident free day tomorrow. Bring on the mighty Carter Bar!

Santa on the BBC

Just been stopped by Jonathan Miles from BBC Newcastle. The interview will be on tomorrow morning's show.

In other news, lots of encouragement from passing cars and lorries is really helping to take my mind off these freezing conditions.

Ho ho hold the front page

I've just been stopped by a reporter from Tyne Tees. There's a good chance that you'll be seeing Santa on the local 6pm news tonight.

News also reaches me that I've been mentioned on BBC Radio Newcastle too.

25 left

Ho ho here we go

The 107.1 mile run from Newcastle to Edinburgh got underway at 0825 in snowy conditions. More from Santa later.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Run Santa Run!

It looks like snow is forecast during the 107.1 mile run from Newcastle to Edinburgh this week. At least I'll be dressing appropriately! The only worry I have currently have is the fact that I'll be having a curry at the work's Christmas so the night before! 

Kick off time from the Keep in Newcastle is 8am on Thursday.

Friday 10 December 2010

Back to Edinburgh!

Next week, weather permitting, I will be running the route of the recently successful Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge.

This time out, however, I will be starting in Newcastle early on Thursday morning and finishing the 107.1 mile route in Edinburgh on Saturday evening.

I was going to leave it until January before trying this particular route again but I feel that next week is an ideal opportunity to attempt the run as well as start my Christmas shopping in Edinburgh!

I think I would be foolish not to take advantage of the predicted break in snowy conditions. You never know what might happen in January and I want at least another dozen attempts at these kinds of distances before USA 2011.

I'll be looking to run this one slightly quicker than last time (33:16:50 in total). No pressure though! I'll also be looking for a greater showing of mental strength on day 2. That's the tough day when I'll be covering 39 miles from Otterburn to Melrose via Carter Bar and Jedburgh.

Unlike the last 107.1 mile effort back in November, I will be largely unsupported and will be running this one solo. Mrs Run Geordie Run and Run Geordie Run Jr will be joining me for a bite to eat in Otterburn on Thursday night and I'll see them again on Saturday afternoon as I approach Edinburgh. Other than that, I'm very much on my own. I'll be carrying one hydration backpack and I'll be giving lots of careful thought as to how much kit and supplies I should carry as well as the 2.5 litres of water every day.

All in all this one has the makings of a very tough challenge. The route from last month is still fresh in my mind so I know exactly what I'm up against.

I'm kind of looking forward to being self sufficient for the majority of the 3 days. There's no Team Run Geordie Run for this one. The 2 Hobbits (Ian and Mike) and support man Carlton and his banter will be a big miss. They were all smashing company to have back in November.

So day 1 will be 31.8 miles from Newcastle Keep, through Ponteland, Belsay and up to Otterburn. There will be 1700ft of climb and 1300ft of descent. I hope to reach the B&B at about 7pm and have enough time to get a quick shower before the aforementioned bite to eat with the family.

Day 2 will require an earlier than usual start from Otterburn. The A68 will take me up to Carter Bar, Jedburgh, Newtown St Boswells and on to Melrose. It's 39 miles in total. Unsurprisingly, there will be 2300ft of climb and 2500ft of descent. This was a 12 hour day last time out. I must look to get this down to 11 hours on the day. The only chance to replenish my stocks during this day will be in Jedburgh. Unless, of course, the burger van is parked up at Carter Bar!

Day 3 will be a slightly later start from Melrose where there are plenty of shops in which to stock up with provisions. It's a steep start to the day but I hope to be in Stow in time for lunch. There's a cracking little cafe there. In fact, the bowl of soup I had during my last visit was, alone, worth running 107.1 miles for. It will then be on to Edinburgh up the A7. The 36.3 miles during this day and 2100ft of climb and descent will take me right up to Edinburgh Castle. I hope to have Roadside support for the final few hours and if I have enough energy left after the finish then a bit of slap up nosh could be the order of the day.

Never mind the running though, the real hard work will begin on Sunday when I attempt to start my Christmas Shopping. If anyone knows where the best place to buy a lump of coal is, in Edinburgh, please get in touch.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Fund Milestone! £20,000 raised so far!!!!!

Back in June, July and August, my friends at Digital Spark Ltd offered some superb fundraising support in the form of 2 quite unique schemes.

Firstly, they pledged to make donations to incentivise people to follow me on Twitter.  The sums were £100 for 1000 followers before the end of June, £200 for 2000 followers before the end of July and £300 for 3000 followers before the end of August. Thankfully, all of those follower targets were reached. The pledges didn't stop there, however. For every Run Geordie Run t-shirt sold in August, Digital Spark Ltd pledged to donate £5 to the 2 charities. This scheme yielded an extra £535 for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.

Amazingly, Digital Spark's contribution to the 2 charities hasn't stopped there and I'm very pleased to announce that they are now my main kit sponsor. Their total contribution to the 2 charities is now £2,000 and was paid via my 2 justgiving pages this week. 

At the time of writing, a very impressive £20,206.34 has been raised. Thanks to Digital Spark for their support. Thanks also to those kind folk who have sponsored me, bought a t-shirt, bought a CD or signed up to the "3000 scheme".