Sunday 30 January 2011

USA 2011 Ball - 3rd September 2011

Please click here to reserve your tickets.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Sponsorship Landmark

After a flurry of t-shirt sales, various pledges and  sizeable contributions from my colleagues at Northern Rock and Andy Preece the fund has tipped over the £21,000 mark and currently stands at a very pleasing £21,549.34. Back in 2007, it took me from John O'Groats to 2 days from Lands End to raise that figure. The final total back then was £34,108. I really do wonder sometimes where this year's total will end.

Thank you, thank you, thank you most sincerely to everyone who has made a donation. I make no apology for repeating this important message. Every single donation, no matter how large or small, is greatly appreciated and makes a huge difference to St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation.

I reported the news of the £21,000 landmark to the charities this week. I send them a regular email simply entitled "Update". These landmark emails get the title "Special Update".

Thanks also must go to Libby Nolan and her team at The Children's Foundation for packing and posting all of the Run Geordie Run t-shirts. Almost 800 have been sold to date and they have posted the majority of them.

The total won't be staying put for too long as Northern Runner have taken up the option of sponsoring for a 3rd year. I can now also apply to the Northern Rock Foundation for the matching of some of the money raised in 2011. Sadly, the matching limit has been reduced to £500 from £1000 this year but every "little" helps!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Sitting next to a Legend

Last Saturday, I had the privilege of watching the match from the comfort of the Real Radio commentary box. It was an event I'd bid on last year in an auction at the Children's Foundation Ball.

In the press room before the match, it was nice to catch up with some of the journalists I regularly correspond with on Twitter such as George Caulkin of the Times, Mark Douglas of The Journal and Joel Goldman of Metro Radio.

I took my seat just as Super Mac was wrapping up his part of the live radio broadcast. Sitting to my left was match commentator Justin Lockwood. To my right was the legend that is Bob Moncur (pictured). Off air before the match, Bob asked me all about the run across the USA and it was a genuine thrill to talk to him about it. What was equally as thrilling was talking live on air, just before the kick off, about the run. 

It was brilliant listening to the commentary of Justin followed by Bob's opinion right there live at the match. The fact that it was an open, entertaining game made the day all the more special. Even if we'd been beaten, it wouldn't have taken the shine off being able to watch the match sitting next to Bob Moncur.

After the match, I made my way to the press room to listen to Harry Redknapp and Alan Pardew's take on events. That was quite surreal having seen this type of thing on the TV hundreds of times. 

All in all it was a very memorable day out and all for a good cause; The Children's Foundation. Thanks to Justin Lockwood and Bob Moncur for being such great hosts. If only there was a vacancy for a match summariser! Hang on a minute…….

Sunday 23 January 2011

The entire route

The entire route across the USA has now been broken down, day by day, and can be found online here. That link is permanently situated at the right hand side of this page.

Friday 21 January 2011

Flights booked

This afternoon, I managed to tick another task off the long list of things to do; booking flights to and from the USA. 

I'll be leaving Newcastle on the 26th of April on a lunchtime flight to Los Angeles via Heathrow. I arrive in LA in the early evening on the same day. I'll then have 4 days to prepare for the big set off on the 1st May!

After the run is complete on the 8th August, I'll have a few days to wind down and to come to terms with what happened during the previous 100 days. I'm working on having Mrs Run Geordie Run and Run Geordie Run Junior with me at the finish in New York but nothing is definite yet.

The return from New York is an early evening flight on the 11th August. This gets in to Newcastle just before lunchtime on the 12th August. Just in time for the new season starting the day after!

It's the final countdown……..

Oh lordy! There are now only 100 days left until I set off from Huntington Beach in California. The same time, incidentally, that it will take me to run coast to coast right across the USA.

There is a lot of planning and organisation still to be done. I'll be booking my flights later today and the deposit for the RV has been paid already.

Thanks go to British Airways for giving me a discount on the flights to LA from Newcastle and back again from New York. They did ask if they could help me arrange the flights from LA to New York. "Ah well, I'll be running that bit".

Thanks also goes to Shalini Austin at SDSA Motorhome Rental. SDSA are UK based and are essentially an agent, acting on my behalf, to procure an RV in the USA. SDSA have offered me a vehicle at cost price and that is very much appreciated.

If you are an individual or company who would like to sponsor the RV (or Team Bus as I like to call it) then please drop me a line at for further info. I can offer some really good publicity in return and your logo splashed all over the Team Bus.

Speaking of publicity, listen out for me on the Real Radio news bulletins this morning. You can listen live here.

Wednesday 19 January 2011 good plans for coverage

I really enjoy working with people who are as enthusiastic about the Run Geordie Run project as I am. Today was no exception as I had the pleasure of meeting up with Gary Philipson and Lisa Shaw from the Real Radio Breakfast show and their boss, programme controller, Jon Kirby.

On the agenda, were Real Radio's plans to support and promote my charity effort across the USA. Plans are still to be finalised and logistics worked out (including how we work around the time difference). Based on discussions so far, it is my hope that I can provide a regular progress update live on air on the Breakfast Show.  This will involve me getting up in the middle of the night. This is something I can live with if it means bringing excellent publicity to the run and the 2 charities.

The icing on the cake, in the plans, is for Gary to run the final day with me and have the finish covered live on Real Radio. This "big finish" would be a far cry from the time I reached Lands End in 2007 with Katy and Jack applauding politely!

Watch this space as Real Radio's plans take shape over the coming weeks and months. 

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Coming to America

Yesterday was all about going for a leisurely sightseeing jog around London. Today, however, was all about a crucial bit of red-tape that needed to be tied up before I travel to the USA at the end of April. 

I had an interview for my Visa at the US Embassy this morning. Obviously, travelling under the Visa waiver scheme is no good for me as I intend to be in the USA for more than 90 days. 

I'm pleased to report that I was granted a Visa after a brief interview with one of the US Embassy staff. The first question was "What will you be doing in the USA?". "Well, pet, I'll be running from California to New York in 100 days" was my reply. It was all plain sailing from there and the very nice interviewer wished me "Good luck" before I left.

This is a very important milestone for the Run Geordie Run project. I can now concentrate on booking flights, hotels, RV and the logistics associated with the support team.

With only 102 days before I set off from Huntington Beach, California there is a lot of work to be done behind the scenes. As ever, I'm well up for the challenge.

Monday 17 January 2011


I had a nice little jog around London today while taking in some of the sights.  Ben Shephard helped to drum up some interest with the following oist on Twitter "My mate Mark aka @rungeordierun is doing some training in london today. Route here give him a wave if you see him".

I started near the BT Tower and ran down Oxford street before hitting the Thames near the Embankment. There were quite a lot of joggers out at lunchtime and the vast majority of them looked in very good nick indeed.

Once I got to London Bridge I bobbed and weaved my way back over several bridges finishing up at Westminster. From there it was onto Buckingham Palace where I followed the final mile of the London Marathon Route. Piccadilly Circus and Regent Street were particularly busy after that.

With so much pleasant scenery to take in the miles simply flew by. I was very pleased with the 12.1 miles done in total.

That there London

I'm in London for the day today and it would be a shame not to get my running shoes dirty. I've put together a route that takes in a few of the Thames bridges. It's about 10.5 miles long but I'm sure it will be a little longer in the end as I get distracted by the sites and/or lost!

Sunday 16 January 2011


The news item that was shown on Look North on Friday made it to national TV on Sunday. First up, was BBC Breakfast with Charlie Stayt and Susanna Reid. That was personally thrilling in itself. But not as much as seeing the item on Newsround on CBBC!

Newsround is a great british institution and I remember watching John Craven present it when I was a wee bairn. If I only knew back then that I would one day appear on the show!

One of my followers on Twitter (@thomasmoffatt) stated that "That's up there with a Blue Peter badge!"

A massive thank you to Sharon Barbour and the team at BBC Look North for helping take Run Geordie Run to a national level.

The link to today's Newsround show is here. It can be seen for the remainder of the day. 

Saturday 15 January 2011

Derby Day

My journey to tomorrow's derby match won't be that dissimilar to this wonderful cartoon drawn by Gary Hogg.

Run Geordie Run on the BBC

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Assembling the Run Geordie Run USA 2011 Support Team

Up until yesterday morning, the motley crue that I like to call the Run Geordie Run USA 2011 Support Team consisted of Richard Scholfield, Jon Cockerill and Kirsty Reid. Richard and Jon will be driving the "Team Bus" and Kirsty is a Sports Therapist.

Those names have been on the "teamsheet" for a while so yesterday I thought that it was about time that I stepped up the search for new recruits. By the end of the day I'd managed to add 2 additional drivers to the team; Carlton Fletcher and Andy Witherspoon. Carlton, of course, was on support duty on the recent run from Edinburgh to Newcastle.

You'll hear a lot more about all of those guys in the build up to the run across the USA. In the meantime, I'm very pleased to have 7 weeks of the run covered for driving and 4 weeks of sports therapy.

I'm also working on getting the Team Bus sponsored which means I will be able to hire a slightly larger model than I'd originally planned. Click here to view the layout of the "Team Bus".

If you would like to apply to join the Run Geordie Run USA 2011 Support Team then please click here

Sunday 9 January 2011

Twitter Support

We have been busy this weekend trying to raise awareness of the run across the USA within the celebrity world on Twitter. There have been several good responses and a number of new followers and hits on my blog as a result.

One response that I was very pleased with came from celebrity chef (and fellow runner) Gordon Ramsey. Don't worry, it wasn't that "tirade" as per the picture to the right. His message read "holy mackerel best of british and eat well ! Good luck.".

Other notable responses came from Lorraine Kelly, TV Chef Dean Edwards, former pop star Antony Costa from Blue, 5 live commentator Darren Fletcher, TV presenter Angellica Bell and actor Gary Lucy.

Those guys have over a quarter of a million followers on Twitter between them so to be able to publicise the run to a larger audience in this way is a real bonus. The proof of the pudding was an increase in website hits over the weekend as well as attracting more followers on Twitter.

Double Money!

Do you remember Family Fortunes in the 80's? If so, then you're sure to remember Max Bygraves saying "Big Money....We are now going to play for double money".

With that "double money" catch phrase in mind I'm pleased to announce that I have a very good chance of getting charity funds doubled in 2011 by The Northern Rock Foundation.

I have applied to the Foundation for fund matching on numerous occasions while working at Northern Rock. It must be stated that applications are not guaranteed to be successful. However, I'm pleased to say that mine always have been.

A maximum of £1000 can be matched in 2011. So if you would like to make a donation then please be aware that there is a very good chance that it will get matched by The Northern Rock Foundation. So, for example, if you sponsor me, say £5 via then the charity will see an extra £5 donated by the Foundation. I do have to submit the application before I leave in April. So, if you're thinking about sponsoring me then please don't leave it too late. It would be a shame to miss out on the "Big Money".

If you would like to sponsor me for "RUNNING COAST TO COAST ACROSS THE USA IN 100 DAYS" then please visit: for St Benedict's Hospice for The Children's Foundation

Any amount, no matter how large or small, would be very greatly appreciated. Rest assured, that I'm going to work extremely hard to earn all pledges. Thanks so much in anticipation of your kind support.

The route across the USA

The 2nd and final attempt at plotting the route across the USA is now complete. Much to my surprise, I have 23 fewer miles on this route compared to my first attempt (which is nice!). The route is 3029 miles long which gives me a couple of day's contingency and a margin for error. It will take 100 days to complete and promises to be the adventure of a lifetime.

There are so many places I'm looking forward to running through including The Mojave (pronounced MO-HAR-VEE) Deseret, Las Vegas, Berthoud Pass in the Rockies at 11,300 ft, The "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Broadway in New York and many more besides. 

This is truly shaping up to be the challenge that I hoped it would be. It's a massive, massive distance and over 3 times the size of my last successful run from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2007. Throw into the mix, the fact that I will be away from my family for over 3 months and this promises to be as challenging emotionally as well as physically.

Hopefully, with a challenge of this magnitude and difficulty, the general public will back me, as they have done over the years. The two beneficiaries of this run are, of course, St Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410) and The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013). It's a real personal honour to be in a position to raise funds for two amazing charities. I have seen their work first hand and I can't stress enough just how important charitable donations are to them.

If you would like to sponsor me for "RUNNING COAST TO COAST ACROSS THE USA IN 100 DAYS" then please visit: for St Benedict's Hospice for The Children's Foundation

Any amount, no matter how large or small, would be very greatly appreciated. Rest assured, that I'm going to work extremely hard to earn all pledges. Thanks so much in anticipation of your kind support.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Plan B no longer required

One thing that has been at the very deep and distant reaches of my mind is "what would I do if Newcastle reached the FA Cup Final in May?". I'll be 2 weeks into the run across the USA when the cup final is played on the 14th May!

When I was interviewed by The Mag for the Summer Special last year they did ask what my plans were if Newcastle reached Wembley. "Plan B", as I called it, would have meant stopping progress on the run 3 days east of Las Vegas and getting a flight to London for the match. After the match, I would have got the next available flight back to Las Vegas and resumed the run.

Fortunately, though, Newcastle are no longer in the FA Cup. Every cloud.....

Accapi review

I have been wearing a different brand of base layer recently supplied to me by my friends at Accapi. I recently gave the new products a testimonial which can be read here.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Random observation of the week

While I was getting changed after my run today I noticed that the Paddy Power Bionic Ankle now looks almost exactly like my other ankle. The ankle bone is slightly protruding as it should be and looks very normal indeed. The only thing to differentiate my left and right ankle is the scar that was left following the operation to insert 2 pins.

Anyway, just saying!

Saturday 1 January 2011

Run Geordie Run in The Mag

Look out for the new "Fairly truthful adventures of Run Geordie Run" cartoon in this month's The Mag as drawn by Gary Hogg. You can catch up on previous episodes from The Mag and The Journal here.

How much has been raised so far...and how....and where from?

What a fantastic year 2010 was for fundraising. The charity total stood at £5,660 this time last year. During 2010, however, a whopping £14,690.34 was added to the total to give a grand total of £20,350.34. That total is made up of £10,197.84 for St Benedict's Hospice and £10,152.50 for The Children's Foundation. The aim is to raise an equal amount for both charities so I'm very pleased that both totals are so close to each other.

Of the £20,350.34 only £1,240 exists in what I call "traditional sponsorship". i.e Sponsor money to be paid upon successful completion of the run. That amount is to be collected from only 6 people with a very generous chap called Ivor Potter my biggest personal sponsor at £1,000.

If you do the sums (total sponsorship amount - traditional sponsorship), you'll realise that £19,110.34 has already been donated and sent to the 2 charities. The bulk of this has amount has been paid via with the rest sent directly to the charities via cheque or standing order (I have a couple of sponsors who pay on a monthly basis).

The 3 main sources of income are from sales of Run Geordie Run t-shirts (35.4%), corporate sponsorship (34.2%) and ordinary pledges (19.7%). There are only 50 or so t-shirts left so I hope to make the "3000 scheme" a success in the first quarter of this year to replace that income stream. Apart from the financial aspect, it is a scheme that I feel is very profound and quite key to the success of the run (more on that in a later blog post).

There are only four months left until the start of the run across the USA. Add 100 days on top of that for the run and the build up to the charity ball after that and that is the realistic window in which to try and raise the target of £50,000 for the 2 charities.

The target for my last big run from John O'Groats to Lands End in 2007 was £10,000. The final amount raised for that run was £34,108. Since 1994, with the help and generousity of thousands of kind folk, £71,828.34 has been raised. That total is made up of so many large and small donations. No matter what the amount, they are all very greatly appreciated.

Thanks again to everybody for their support of Run Geordie Run and 2 very worthy local charities. Here's to a successful 2011.