Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day 68

(Sunday 22nd December)

Some positive thoughts ended day 67, day 68 was incredibly positive with a cool 24 Celsius at 06:30.  Mark needed to make sure that he made the most of this as the midday heat was forecast to be another scorcher!

The miles today saw Mark reach the Olympic Highway, named as such as it was the path that the Olympic Torch took on its journey to Melbourne for the 1956 Summer Olympics.  The miles for day  68 were dedicated to the memory of Chris Fairlam.  A loving memory donation was made from those closest to him.  

At 09:20 Mark tweeted to say that he was struggling.  The chain of tweets that followed poured out from the heart.  For anyone in any doubt as to the reasons why Mark puts himself through these inhumane conditions, this should explain a little more…

"I'm struggling today. I'll finish this run but understand the toll it takes on me on a daily basis. It's like an eternal nightmare."

"I have demons. I have anger. I'm riddled, like many people, with deep grief for the loss of my parents."

"Had I known how tough this run would have been mentally I would never have started it. It's more than a reasonable man can take most days."

"The illusion that by doing these runs I can see my parents again is a cruel one that I've clung too for years."

"The pain of grief is a real burden. Like this run, I want it to end badly."

"I have put my heart and soul on social media. You have seen the ramblings of a broken man on the brink."

"My strength has gone. When I get to #bondi next week I will have arrived on fumes."

"I have perspective. I know there are many far worse off and many battling cancer."

"I feel cheated. Why didn't I have more years with my parents. Why did they have to smoke when I told them not too."

"The fallout and the aftermath of families who lose lived ones to cancer or any illness for that matter is often underestimated."

"The aftermath for Mark Allison losing his Dad at 17, his brother at 18 and his Mam at 23 is something many can relate to I'm sure."

"The grief has been lessened temporarily by pushing myself to the limit and fundraising for the last 20 years."

"It's not sustainable. I've never asked for conventional help before but I will do so when I get back to the UK."

"I hope everyone appreciates my honesty. I don't always get things right but I'm putting it all out there for you to judge."

"I'm at a critical and very vulnerable point of my life. With your support, kindness and understanding this arduous journey will soon be over."

I'm sure that like myself, if you were reading these at the time (or perhaps even now), there were tears.  To see Mark punish himself with these conditions in attempt to fight the grief that he carries is heartbreaking.  As ever, the messages of support were amazing.  So many people backing the cause, tuning in every day and willing Mark on.  There are no words to describe how fantastic this support is and, of course, how very much appreciated it is.

By 11am Mark had completed the first session of the day with a respectable half marathon.  The local support continued and a young couple had stopped Mark to make a kind gestured donation.  The second session of the day was a 'warm' welcome of hills.  Mark has ran on so many straight flat roads that hills presented a new and enjoyable (?!) challenge.

"Got to the top of a 3 mile sheer uphill stretch with some good attacking running. It's 39 Celsius. I'm soaked now."

"Today has been very warm with lots of climbs which I've enjoyed. It hasn't been that dissimilar to the North Pennines back in the UK."

"32.4 miles closer to Sydney. Relieved."

19:00 - "2222 miles ran so far in total. 222 left to #Bondi."

Mark ended day 68 with a few more questions about the run across Australia, this time confessing to asking the support team for luxury food items that we blatantly don't have.  It served him wrong this time when he asked for hot chunky winter soup - this time he got what he asked for! Heating and eating soup in a hot RV is not enjoyable but that will teach him!

Fortunately the temperature in the RV was a little more bearable at 27 Celsius, this was looking to be a great night's sleep ahead…