Monday 21 November 2011

And the winner is….

Recently, I've been lucky enough to win 2 awards; Derwentside Physical Activity Achievement of the Year and the County Durham Sport Physical Activity Achievement of the Year. While I was running across the USA, winning awards never entered my mind. Completing the run and raising double the £50,000 sponsorship target for St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation is all the personal reward and satisfaction I would ever need.

That said, when these awards do come along, I'm ever so grateful and, moreover, extremely proud to receive them. Imagine, my utter surprise when I won another award last week. Not only another award, but not one directly related to physical activity or, indeed, the IT industry in which I currently work. 

I was delighted to be invited to attend the PRide awards hosted by the North East Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) at the Hilton in Gateshead. There were many awards up for grabs and the new PR girl for Run Geordie Run, Katherine Shenton (pictured below), won the Best Freelance Practitioner award.

Despite having a more than succesful UK PR campaign this year,  I never quite got the PR right in the US. Having Katherine on board is going to help take the campaign to the next level for the trans Australia run in 2013. I'm a firm believer that to be successful, you have to surround yourself with positive, like minded experts. The list of such people is growing very nicely and Kathryn joins the likes of David Fairlamb Fitness, The Cradlewell Clinic, Real Radio, The Journal and Tyne Bridge Harriers. Work is ongoing, behind the scenes to add to this list and the early indications are that Australia 2013 has the potential to be every bit as successful as USA 2011.

Meanwhile, back to Friday and the PRide awards! I won the COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR award. Following the presentation of the trophy I was able to deliver an acceptance speech. My opening line was "Communicator of the year! Wow! I don't know what to say!". My planned funny line was greeted with silence and I could just about make out a tumbleweed at the back of the room.

That duff line aside, I was very pleased with my speech and it gave me the chance to talk about the Run Geordie Run brand, the success of the campaign and to thank those in the media who'd helped make USA 2011 a success; Real Radio, ITV Tyne Tees,, BBC and The Journal.

I closed by reflecting on the fact that I thought my parents would have been very proud of my award. It's these profound moments in life that make running 3100 miles for charity so extra special.

I got to meet some very interesting people and I thoroughly enjoyed the PRide 2011 event. I'd like to say thanks to CIPR for their hospitality and for giving me such a prestigous award.

Thursday 10 November 2011

It's Australia!

I wish I had a pound for every time that I'd been asked about the next big run due to take place in 2013. I really do apologise for keeping everyone in suspense but it has taken 2 months of research to devise a run that sees a huge step up in difficulty compared to the run across the USA. I was also mindful of getting approval from my family and talking about the risks involved before letting everyone else know.

This morning, I announced, on Gary and Lisa's Breakfast show on Real Radio, that the next big run would be ……….. *drum roll* ………... across Australia in 2013 in aid of St Benedict's Hospice and The Children's Foundation. As per usual, we had great fun on the show and Producer Mac had created an appropriate music package to be played in the background during the announcement.

The 2600 mile route from Perth to Sydney via the Nullarbor Plain and Adelaide will take 70 days. To break that down, that's 41 miles of running for 64 days with 6 full rest days built in. Luxury! I've got no doubt, at this stage, that the timing of those rest days will be on of the key factors in the success of this particular run. 

It is a coast to coast route starting on October 16th 2013 in an exact location that is yet to be decided on the coastline of Perth. The final day of the run will be on Christmas Eve 2013, over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, finishing up on Bondi Beach (Hopefully with my family waiting there).

Since news broke on Real Radio, I've spent the day talking about the run to various publications including The Evening Chronicle, The Journal and The Northern Echo. Later in the day, I was thrilled to appear on ITV's North East Tonight show with Ian Payne and Pam Royle. I rounded the media day off with a visit to the BBC to talk to Simon Pryde, John Anderson and Marco Gabbiadini on Total Sport. It was also great to see a piece on the eve supportive and well read website

Aside from the conventional media, "rungeordierun" was trending in the North East on Twitter and there was a lot of support on Facebook too. All in all, a great day's publicity for Run Geordie Run and the 2 charities. The reaction I've received from all quarters has been one of "You're mad!". This tells me that running across Australia during the Summer is the right level of difficulty to warrant another £50,000 fundraising target for the 2 charities.

Unlike the previous runs I've done over the last 17 years, the run across Australia will need commercial backing. It cost me £15,000 to fund the run across the USA. I quite simply can't afford to do that again. Mrs Run Geordie Run would lynch me! It was for that reason alone that I'd always intended to make the run across the USA my final fundraiser. So for the first time in my fundraising career it's time to find a sponsor that will pay for the tour itself. 

Given the amount of interest in Run Geordie Run and, more importantly, the funds that have been raised, I owe it to the 2 charities to give it one more shot and try to raise another £50,000. If successful, this would take the total fundraising to over £200,000 since 1994. 

The last run attracted thousands of sponsors and was consistently backed and encouraged by Ben Shephard, Tony Jeffries and Mark Beaumont to name but 3 famous folk. It was talked about at length on the Chris Moyles show on Radio 1, on Real Radio, Metro Radio and BBC Newcastle. The run was featured on, BBC news, Newsround, ITV news and received a huge amount of national publicity during the Great North Run. The run featured heavily in the local press, including many front pages on The Journal, and has had features in numerous glossy publications. 

The point I'm making here is that there is a lot of familiarity of Run Geordie Run and the support that goes with it is first class. At the benefit of the 2 charities, it would be prudent to take this forward into a new running campaign. I simply can't call it quits after the USA. I've got to attempt another run; a far more difficult and dangerous run with logistical issues that are quite simply unfathomable at this point in time.

I'll be working with David Fairlamb Fitness again and also my membership of Tyne Bridge Harriers is going to be of great benefit too. 

Australia represents new and more complex challenges on numerous levels. If it's only half as dramatic as the run across the USA then we're all in for a treat. The hard work starts here for Australia 2013.

Friday 4 November 2011

Run Geordie Run USA 2011 commemorative limited edition t-shirt

Run Geordie Run USA 2011 Limited Edition commemorative t-shirts are £12 each with the full £12 going to The Children's Foundation (Charity No. 1000013). Please use  the order form below then follow the instructions on how to pay by