Thursday 6 September 2018

Team Run Geordie Run

Getting people to donate or raise funds for my chosen charities is always a huge challenge for me. This is especially the case when those people don't have a personal or emotional connection to St. Benedict's Hospice who I have raised funds for since 1994. 

Team Run Geordie Run was setup in 2010 in order to use the Run Geordie Run brand to attract people to raise funds for my chosen charities who otherwise wouldn't have done so. 95% of the funds raised by the team have been on the back of the Great North Run. There have been other events such as the London, Edinburgh and Melbourne Marathons. Last year saw a self supported ultra distance run on the south coast. There has even been fancy dress participation!

Members of the team have come from all walks of life and all corners of the globe. The charities to  benefit from the team's efforts in the past have been The Children's Foundation and St. Benedict's Hospice. Of course, the hospice is this year's chosen charity. 

Now for some figures! In previous years Team Run Geordie Run have raised £44,869.60 for The Children's Foundation and, including this year, £8,518.77 has been raised so far for St Benedict's Hospice. I've got a feeling that the overall total for the Hospice may exceed £10,000 after this year's Great North Run. I'm hoping that the team will raise at least £8000 this year for St. Benedict's Hospice to make that happen. That would be amazing! 

I know from speaking to many of the team recently just how happy they are to run the 13.1 miles at the Great North Run this weekend. Everyone knows that it's all for a good cause and how desperate for financial support the Hospice is. In fact, relatives of some of the team have received care from St. Benedict's Hospice. No matter what the reasons for fundraising or personal connections to the Hospice are, everyone should be especially proud that their efforts are making a real and positive difference to terminally ill people in our region.

I can only speak from my own experiences, but the care and support that my Mam received from the Hospice made a huge difference to her final weeks and months as she battled lung cancer. The specialist palliative care given to my Mam and many other people in the Hospice is truly something special and we must do everything that we can to help in some small way if we can. 

The 50k barrier was smashed recently and the overall Team Run Geordie Run total since 2010 going into this weekend's Great North Run stands at £53,388.36. That's some incredible effort and generosity right there. A huge thank you to everyone involved over the years is something that I never grow tired of writing or saying.

Thanks, once again, go to Run Geordie Run main sponsor SOS Group, who have paid for the production of Team Run Geordie Run t-shirts and vests since 2014. This year's kit is very snazzy. 

SOS Group also pay for the Team Run Geordie Run goodie bags which I'm pleased to report contain a nice bottle of Prosecco this year. These will be handed out in the St. Benedict's Hospice tent near the finish line at the Great North Run.

Andrew Skelton, one of the directors at SOS Group, told me "It's been a huge honour to support Team Run Geordie Run over recent years. As a company, we take great inspiration from the effort that everyone puts into training, fundraising and during the Great North Run itself. 

I visited St. Benedict's Hospice earlier this year and was able to see first hand what an amazing place it is. 

Good luck to everyone running this weekend. Everyone at SOS Group think you are all amazing.".  

Thanks also to Active Edge for sachets of Cherry Active to help Team Run Geordie Run recover from Sunday's 13.1 miles. Incidentally, this is my 7th year of using Cherry Active. It has helped me during runs across the USA, Australia as well as Western and Eastern Europe. It's the product that I drink that helps me run the big miles day after day with the bare minimum of aches and pains in my muscles. It's been brilliant to see use of the product grow in the sports community over the years. I spotted Jamie Vardy and Tom Daley using it on the TV recently. It also seems popular across many other sports too.  

Finally, thanks to the members of Primal Fitness and Performance for their efforts this year. 9 of the 24 strong 2018 Team Run Geordie Run members have signed up from Primal.

11 of the team have com from Virgin Money and with many of them having done the London Marathon it's been a very busy year of running and fundraising.

Chris Checkley from Virgin Money (pictured below left) said "The Great North Run means a massive amount to me and has literally changed my life. 

When I was a nipper I ran the first 2 GNRs. At that time you'd get a certificate and a free photo. Fast forward 28 years I was over 18 stone, unhealthy and unfit. I couldn't accept that I was going to peak athletically aged 12! 4 years later, after a lot of hard training I achieved my target of beating my 12 year old self, achieving a time of 1:41:49, I also got my weight down to 13 stone. 

I'll be running this year for St Benedict's Hospice as part of Team Run Geordie Run, a fantastic cause that I am very pleased to be helping.".

Carl (pictured middle below) wrote the following back in January of this year "On Wednesday 8th March 2017, during my usual commute by bike to work, I was hit by a driver in his car. I suffered multiple breaks in my shoulder blade, collar bone, seven broken ribs, 3 fractured vertebrae and a punctured lung.

After 9 days in hospital (6 in the High Dependency Unit) I returned home, still somewhat shaken. It's been a long journey to get to the point of writing this story. 10 months have passed and whilst the bones have mended, there's still a lot of healing to be done. Thankfully I've have a brilliant set of people around me, who have helped me back up when I've been down and ensure my recovery has been more bearable.

I will be running with Team Run Geordie Run and raising money for St Benedict's Hospice. I've ran with RGR for many years whilst at work and it is an honour to run with his team.".

Thank you also to the other 4 Team Run Geordie Run making up the total of 24 who are taking part. Fundraising, never mind running 13.1 miles, is not an easy thing to do. Your efforts are hugely appreciated by St. Benedict's Hospice and myself.

The team's progress this weekend can be followed on the Team Run Geordie Run Facebook page. Good luck to David, Jeff, Lyn, Andrew, Carl, Carlton, Clare, Em, Faye, Gary, Gregory, Jonathan, Kirstine, Michael, Sarah, Simon, Steve, Jo, Beverley, Chris, Ibrahim, Melonie, Chris and Mark this weekend.

Finally, I'd like to end with a message that I received last year from a member of Team Run Geordie Run. It was very satisfying to me because I knew that every mile that I'd previously ran around the world had helped to inspire someone to fundraise for a cause close to my heart who otherwise would not have done so. That, right there, is the sole purpose of Team Run Geordie Run.

"I'll be honest, I've no affinity with The Children's Foundation and whilst I'm proud of the money I've raised, the kudos for me was running as part of Team Run Geordie Run. Your running has been inspirational to me. Well done for everything bud and I'm prouder of my Team Run Geordie Run  jersey than my Great North Run medal".