Wednesday 22 April 2020

Fund milestone

With only a few more amounts to come in from kind people who have promised to donate on pay day, the fund for St. Benedict's Hospice is looking really good in respect of last week’s #stayathomeultraduathlon. I'm very pleased, proud and most of all grateful to announce that so far £2130 has been raised for that event. Thank you once again to everyone who donated via

Last week's event also saw some key fundraising milestones reached and in other ways almost reached.

Firstly, the overall charity fund is now less than £300 away from a third of a million pounds. Specifically, the total amount raised is currently £332,711.13.

That is an amount that reflects some quite extraordinary generosity from a great many people. ! St Benedict's Hospice now has the biggest share of that overall fundraising effort with £138,171.15 raised to date.

Of course, previous amounts and charities that I've raised funds for are £137,178.19 for The Children's Foundation, £48,911.42 for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, £8200.37 for Useful Vision and £250 for North of England Children's Cancer Research (my first ever fundraising attempt).  

Take it as read that I won’t be resting until that overall figure has smashed through half a million pounds and I have made it across the remaining 10,000 miles around the world.

My ultimate aim is, of that half a million pounds, to raise over £300,000 for St Benedict's Hospice. It will only ever be a small way of showing how grateful I am to St Benedict's Hospice for the care that they gave my Mam during her final weeks. I know that she and my Dad would have been very proud of my efforts and your amazing generosity and kindness.

Given the current state of global affairs, who knows when the 6th and next stage of the run around the world will be able to get underway. The 2100 mile route from Kiev, Ukraine across Russia to Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan is scheduled to get underway in 2021. I suspect that it may actually be 2022.

If a delay does happen, then the prospect of an earlier, shorter 500 mile coast to coast stage across Iceland will become a possibility (More info here).

A stage across Iceland would totally fit in with the overall world route. It would be a 14 day event in the middle of winter. A whole new set of challenges would need to be overcome after the many sweltering hot campaigns of the past.

Thanks again for the support shown last week. It was a very late decision to run and cycle 600 miles without any training. Thankfully, it paid off and a good time was had by all!

Monday 20 April 2020

The funds keep coming for The Stay At Home Ultra duathlon.

Any feelings of exhaustion that I should have right now are being pegged back by huge feelings of relief and gratitude. I’m relieved that this terribly difficult 9 day event is over. What on earth was I thinking? Why did I have to do run, bike, run? Why not just run then bike? Why did I think it was a good idea to do this as well as my day job? Why did I think I’d be able to cycle a personal best of 60 miles in a day, then beat that over the following days with 70, 100 and 120 miles. Why did I not realise the pain my backside would be in? Don’t even mention the chafing! Thank goodness for paracetamol and bloody mindedness. Swollen feet, sore back and legs. Dehydrated. Life on hold. 

Regrets? Absolutely not. 

All of this pales into insignificance when I remind myself about all of the sacrifice and hardship being seen by the key workers in the country. Particularly those in the NHS and social care. Then I remind myself about the supermarket workers, the refuse collectors, the NHS volunteers, those in the food supply chain, infrastructure, utilities, armed forces, government etc etc. It is having this sense of perspective that got me through this challenge. It’s the same thing that got me 3100 miles across the USA, 2834 miles across Australia, 2633 miles across Europe and all of the other runs around the world so far. 

A little bit of “temporary effort” is the least I can do for the real heroes at St. Benedict's Hospice and also the patients, like my Mam was once, that they care for. 

I’ll rehydrate today, my feet will be back to normal later this week. I’m not sure when my backside will recover mind! The amazing care given at St. Benedict’s Hospice will continue for those terminally ill people who so desperately need it. Every minute of every day of every month of every year care is given by the brilliant staff at the Hospice. 

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far for this challenge. At the time of writing, £1913 has been donated to St. Benedict's Hospice. 

If you’d like to help smash the £2000 barrier for the Hospice then please visit

Any amount would be hugely appreciated and put to amazing use by St. Benedict’s Hospice. Thanks, stay safe and at home.

Sunday 19 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon latest from Day 9

Day 8 came to an end at just after 9pm with a strong finish.

Day 9 took a little longer to get up and started, the initial aim was 7am however it was more like 9am after a cold shower to wake me up and get me back out on the drive. The first 6 miles of the run were done in 70 minutes. I didn't feel as tired as yesterday at that stage but as I wasn't as fast this morning by comparison.

The first half marathon of the day took 02:33:19 - I found a little bit of speed towards the end. Not much though. I had a short lunch break to refuel before getting back on the bike to start the 120 miles.

I've tried to keep the pace consistent, I explained a little more on my tactics for this below.

At the time of writing this piece (just after 7pm, and typed by Donna as I'm still cycling!), I've done 70 miles on the bike and have another 3 and a bit hours I reckon until I finish this final leg of cycling. There is still of course the small matter of a half marathon run to complete the challenge. This should see me through to approx. 1am - I've made the neighbours aware and have promised to be quiet! 

Big thanks to my neighbours of course, they've waved, smiled, stopped for a quick chat and donated (both money to the charity and cake!). They've certainly helped to make a massive difference over the course of the last 9 days. 

Huge thanks also to those who have continued to send good luck messages, they really do help. The donations have continued to roll in with a total of £1685 raised so far. An incredible amount and I know just how much St Benedict's Hospice appreciate the generosity. 

Full update to follow tomorrow...

Saturday 18 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon latest from Day 8

I've spent the last few days literally doing the day job, running, cycling sleeping and doing it all over again. I'll get the blog up to date when I can (probably after the final day tomorrow). In the meantime,  I'm very pleased to announce that the current total raised for St Benedict's Hospice is £1359. £859 has been donated on my Virgin Money Giving page and there has been a £500 donation direct to the Hospice.

I'm writing this on a very quick break at the 42 mile point of the bike ride which was reached in 2 hours and 45 minutes. There's still 58 miles to go today on the bike as well as 9 miles of running left.

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored this Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon in aid of St Benedict's Hospice. 

If you'd like to kindly sponsor me and donate some much needed funds to St Benedict's Hospice then please visit

Wednesday 15 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon (Day 5)

I spent a bit of time making some adjustments to my bike before day 5 of the Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon got underway. I wanted to bring the seat closer to the handlebars so I could get a comfortable crouch position when I needed it. I'm sure that there's a technical term for this stuff! Anyway, it was time well spent and I start running just before 5pm.

The aim on day 5 was to run 5 miles, cycle 50 miles then finish up with a final 5 mile run.

Despite having a bit of a headache, I felt really strong at the start of the run. There was a real spring in my step as this clip from the Run Geordie Run Facebook page shows.

The first running segment of 5 miles was finished in 00:51:11 thanks to the best pace that I've found this week. That run burned almost 700 calories and I was very hungry when I got on the bike.

I demolished a couple of bananas and an oat bar during the first few miles on the bike. I managed to keep to a pace of 18mph for the first 20 or so miles. I stopped briefly to eat the leftover pizza from last night and was soon on my way again.

The sun set shortly after 8 pm and I was left pedalling in total darkness. Here are some random thoughts from that time.

The final 15 miles on the bike were spent in the company of other cyclists. I managed to pull in front of one cyclist, they would over take, I would overtake back and so on. I managed to keep this up almost to the end and I noticed my speed was consistently around 23mph. I was very warm at the end and was dripping in sweat. Those final few miles flew by though and I finished the 50 miles in 03:07:33.

I burned 2600 calories on the bike ride but I had bags of energy left going into the final running session of day 5. 

I felt really strong until the last mile. I was pleased to get finished in 00:55:12. The video below is my final lap with my immediate thoughts/random ramblings.

I felt I could have ran for much longer at the pace that I did tonight if I needed to. It was one of those nights where everything went right. I've seen this type of thing happen early on in my big trans-continental runs. I remember day four of the run across the USA been unexpectedly quick. Another day when everything went right. That was also the day of the drugs bust. I'll save that one for another time.

Back to today and once again my mobility after the challenge had finished was really good. The pain in my backside was nowhere near as bad either. Perhaps the seat adjustment had something to do with that.

Finally for today, I'm very pleased to repot that the amount raised for St Benedict's Hospice over the last 24 hours has almost doubled. Thank you to everyone who made a donation today. An amazing £305 has been added to the total which now stands at £630. It all adds up to some absolutely fantastic generosity which has been shown from all over the world including Spain, California, New York as week as here in the UK!

If you would like to sponsor this challenge then please visit

Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon (Day 4)

I'll start by saying a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me today in aid of St Benedict's Hospice. £155 was added to the total today which stands at a brilliant £325.

I didn't start day the first running leg until 18:30 as I had an online talk and Q&A with some Spanish students at an English language school in La Gomera. That's one of the islands in the Canaries. It was an hour well spent talking about my journey around the world so far. There were some really good questions at the end too.

Back to the Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon and I’m definitely getting quicker on the bike and the pizza Donna ordered from local restaurant La Torre really helped. We heard recently that they had been delivering free pizza to local NHS, supermarket staff and other key workers. It felt only right to pay that kindness back and give them some business. Donna ordered 4 Pizzas and some sides! I had a decent selection on my plate at around the 15 mile point. They were absolutely delicious. More like an Italian restaurant pizza than a takeaway pizza which suited me fine. There was enough pizza left for tomorrow's stint on the bike!

The first hour on the bike was a 15 mph average. I managed to keep up nearer 18 mph after the pizza!

I'm pleased to report that the running is getting quicker too. It was 00:44:41 for the first four miles and 00:45:10 for the final four. 

It was very cold towards the end on the bike. My top half was ok with a base layer, mid layer, hoodie and coat. My legs were quite cold as the night got darker. 

I spoke to my son Jack, who I’ve not seen for 4 weeks due to the current lockdown, during the closing few miles of running and that really helped. 

The most noticeable improvement after 4 days is in my mobility once I've finished. I didn’t have to crawl upstairs to the bath as I have done on previous nights!

The late start today at 18:30 definitely made it more difficult with the later cycling miles and running being done in cold conditions. Hopefully, I’ll have a 2 hour head start tomorrow where a 5 mile run, a 50 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run is the plan. My aim is to try and run at 00:10:30 pace and cycle between 15 and 18mph. So that will be 01:40:00 of running and about 03:20:00 of cycling. 

I should be finished around about 21:30 tomorrow night. That will give a total of 150 miles on the bike and 30 miles of running in 5 days. That leaves 350 bike and 70 running miles left over the remaining 4 days. It’s a huge workload and one that I haven’t trained for. In fact, I’ve only walked to the CO-OP three times in the last month. Hopefully, you think all of this effort is worthy of a donation to St. Benedict’s Hospice. If so, please visit Thanks in advance.

Monday 13 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon (Day 3)

I felt quite tired and sore at the start of day 3 of the Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon. A sluggish first 3 miles was done in 00:38:25. That's an average pace of 00:12:46 per mile. If I don't find a quicker pace than that by the weekend then I'm going to be in trouble when it comes to running up to a half marathon (twice) on Sunday.

I was 10 miles in to the bike session after that slow but solid first 3 mile running segment. I started to  notice neighbours who I’ve never waved at or smiled at in 2 and a bit years of living here suddenly waving and smiling. It was a simple gesture from afar but made a huge difference to my speed on the bike. I immediately thought of this scene from one of my favourite movies. Please humour me on this one!

I finished the 30 mile bike ride at 7pm. It took me 02:08:27 to cycle that distance. Again, if I don't find some more speed on the bike then I'll be in for 2 very long days at the weekend. I felt pretty good when I got off the bike. There's definitely more speed to be had if I can get my mind and body working together better.

The final 3 mile run got underway just after 7pm and was finished in 00:37:37. It was slightly quicker  than the first run of the day.

Thank you to everyone who made a donation today. The current total for St Benedict's Hospice stands at £170. I originally hoped to raise £100 so that amount is fantastic.

Thank you also to the kind person who donated whose wife is a nurse. I found out that she went off on another night shift as I was finishing my 2nd running segment. Their household has an elderly resident in it who has temporarily had to move out to another family member’s house to reduce the risk of infection. The rest of the family are keeping their distance, within the same household, from the nurse (also a mother), and washing their hands regularly and thoroughly. I think she has 3 more night shifts this week. Thank you to that nurse, and all of her colleagues in the NHS, for carrying out their duties despite putting themselves and their families in harms way.

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon (Day 2)

Day two of the Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon got underway just after 5pm. The aim today was to run 2 miles, cycle 20 miles and finish up with another 2 miles. 

After yesterday's GPS watch shenanigans, I'd measured and calculated that to run 1 mile wold require 64.4 L shaped laps of my drive. Given that a lap was taking anywhere between 17 and 25 seconds, I found it quite easy to keep track in my mind. It just needs a constant "one, one, one ..... two, two, two" and so on and so forth.

I think I must have ran over 2 miles on each of yesterday's running segments. Lesson learned!

A huge thank you goes to the small amount of passing neighbours who were taking their daily exercise and waved as they walked past. That was hugely appreciated and really put a spring in my step.

I finished the first running segment of 2 miles in 00:22:57 burning 389 calories. That's an average of 00:11:29 per mile. I didn't find the constant 5 left turns and 1 right turn a problem at all. The whole thing felt very comfortable. I think always having the finish line in sight is a huge mental plus. Also, this kind of event still feels like a bit of a novelty so there's plenty of positives to keep you going. 

I quickly changed into my cycling shoes and jumped on the Watt bike. After a bit of research earlier in the day, I chose a flat(ish) course around virtual London. 

This cycling segment was far easier than yesterday. I think I passed through the 10 mile point in about 35 minutes. That's almost 25 minutes quicker than yesterday's ride in virtual Yorkshire!

I found the remaining 10 miles to be a bit of a chore. The virtual ride in London took me down into the subway and when I climbed out the other side I had to really stick in up the 14% gradient. I wasn't expecting that!

As I was nearing the end, my neighbours, Kelly and Jordan, walked past in the distance for their daily exercise. They had just kindly made a donation to St. Benedict's Hospice via my Virgin Money Giving page. I shouted over that I thought I'd need to be on the bike for 7 or so hours on the final day given my current pace. "Get some boxsets to watch" Kelly shouted back. That's a tremendous idea! 
I finished my virtual cycle around London in 01:16:32, climbing 407 ft and burning 820 calories in the process. 

If I manage to keep to today's average cycling speed of 15.7 mph then the required time on the bike towards the end of the week is looking like 4.5 hours on Friday, 6.5 hours on Saturday and 7.75 hours on Sunday! Oh dear!

Back to day two and the final running segment was only slightly slower than the first one. I received notifications on my Apple Watch for some donations as I was running. That really helped. 

During the final few laps I had a thought for all of the front line workers in the NHS and all of those other people who are keeping the country ticking over. Delivery drivers, Post Office and Royal Mail staff, bin people, teachers, scientists, government workers, farmers and supermarket workers sprung to mind immediately. I bet there are many others too which I didn't think of.

The second running segment of two miles finished just after half past seven in 00:23:23 with 323 calories burned. 

If I can maintain or improve on that pace for the rest of the week I should have a good chance of finishing the final day in around about 13 hours. It'll be tough to do 2 half marathons and a 120 mile bike ride in the middle. Looks like a very early start will be needed with strategically calculated refuelling breaks (and a few box sets on the bike). 

While not using GPS to keep track of my miles today, I did have it switched on. The output from my Garmin made a little more sense than yesterday's from the Apple Watch. Only just though! It looks like I jumped over the fence into next door's garden at one point!

Thank you to Dave and Lesley Greaves, Jack Houghton, Kelly and Jordan Graham, Paul Anderson and Ben Killingworth for very kind donations to St. Benedict's Hospice today. At the time of writing, £140 has been raised.

If you would like to sponsor me for this Stay at Home Ultra Dualthon challenge then please visit

Saturday 11 April 2020

The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon (Day 1)

I'm pleased to report that day one of the The Stay At Home Ultra Duathlon ended successfully but with a few valuable lessons learned. The venue for the event was my driveway with a basic L shaped route mapped out down the side and front of the house for the running segments. The cycling would take place right in the middle of the driveway.

The aim of day 1 was to run 1 mile, cycle 10 miles then finish up with a final run of 1 mile. 

The event got underway at 12:50 with the first running segment. Conditions were decent with nice warm sunshine making for a very pleasant day.

The first thing I notice while running was that I didn't seem to be making much progress when looking on my Apple Watch at the distance covered statistic. That first "mile" took 00:24:03. What a load of rubbish I thought. The reality is that I placed far too much confidence in the GPS tracking capability on my Apple Watch. I suspect my Garmin may have been a little better as it requests the position data more frequently. I suspect that I actually ran at least twice the required distance today! That's a huge lesson learned. If I don't establish a more accurate way of measuring the miles I've done then I will fail at this challenge. I'm working on a few things tonight which should see better results tomorrow.

The cycling leg got underway at 13:14 after a short transition to change my shoes. It was arguably worse than the first run.

I got on my bike and chose a virtual route on the Zwift app. For some reason (and it seemed like a good idea at the time) I chose a route around Yorkshire! That's the Yorkshire with all of the hills. 

When I started to pedal, I noticed almost immediately that it was taking a lot of effort in a low gear to build up any speed. One look at the gradient on the screen, which I could just make out in the sun, explained that one.

I finished the 1000ft of climbing over 10 miles in 00:59:22. That wasn't too much of a disaster today. If I chose that course on day nine where I need to cycle 120 miles, I'd be in serious trouble. I really don't fancy 12 hours on a bike! On my drive. Not getting very far. 

It took a few laps to get going on the final running segment. I actually felt like I was running quicker than before. The passing neighbours who waved as they went past for their daily exercise really helped too. What also helped was the smell of next door's BBQ!

The final "one mile" run was done in 00:23:11. If that was a mile then I'll show my backside in Fenwick's window.

As you can see from the image below, the first run (top left) was a bit of a nonsense in terms of GPS as was the 3rd run (bottom right). The elevation profile (bottom left) tells a story of my stupidity! I'll be picking a much flatter route for tomorrow 20 mile cycling segment.

So that's day one over. As you can see from the plan below, tomorrow requires 2 x 2 mile runs with a 20 mile cycle in the middle. I suspect it will be a similar day to today in terms of time. Having a more accurate way of measuring mileage will help. It won't be GPS based!

Thank you to those kind folk who made a donation today in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice. If you'd like to do the same then please visit  

After you've done that please enjoy this short clip which I think captures the spirit of day one of this crazy challenge.

Friday 10 April 2020

The Run Geordie Run Stay At Home Ultra Dualthon

Tomorrow is day one of a new nine day personal challenge. I will be doing a one mile run around my drive followed by a ten mile bike ride on my stationary Watt Bike (also on my drive using the Swift app) followed by a one mile run around my drive. 

I’ll add one mile to the running legs and ten miles to the cycle leg each day for the subsequent eight days. So that means on day two (Easter Sunday) it will be two miles of running, twenty miles of cycling and another two miles of running to finish and so on. 

This progression will continue every day, right up to next Sunday (the 19th of April). Those last three days will see the miles ramped up slightly in order to achieve a total of 100 miles of running and 500 miles of cycling with a full marathon on the final day and 120 miles on the bike. ALL ON MY DRIVE! ALL IN NINE DAYS.

This is the planned schedule and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about it:

I haven’t moved much at all over the previous four weeks so this is going to be very tough physically. The monotony of being on my drive for so many miles is going to be extremely challenging mentally.  AUSTRALIA WILL HAVE NOTHING ON THIS! 

Fitting it around work will be logistically challenging. I'm on call most of this weekend during the night and I'll be fitting my day job in next week too (albeit from home).

If you would like to sponsor my #stayathomeultraduathlon then please visit and make a much needed donation to St. Benedict's Hospice. 

With all of the fundraising events that have been cancelled recently, St. Benedict’s Hospice need our love and support more than ever. It’s 25 years since they cared for my Mam during her final days battling cancer. The debt of gratitude I feel to the Hospice is still as strong now as it always has been. 

I hugely appreciate that this will be a tough time financially for many people. Whatever can be donated would be hugely appreciated and will collectively make a difference. I refer, of course, to the £105,000 that was raised during my run across the USA in 2011. Of that sum, £50,000 was made up of donations of ten pounds or much less. 

I can't begin to imagine how difficult it must be for the patients in the hospice at present and their families who may not be able to visit. I really can't imagine being in that position when my Mam was there. The thought of it is unbearable. 

I often think of the incredible continuing care being given by the doctors, nurses and wider team at St. Benedict's Hospice (pictured below). They, like their NHS colleagues and many other people who are keeping the country running and stocked up, deserve endless praise and admiration.

Suddenly, cycling and running on my drive and continuing to clap at my front door on a Thursday seems the very least that I can be doing. 

As always, I’m going to give it my best shot over the next nine days. Don’t be surprised to see a grown man crawling to the finish line next weekend. 

Please watch out for updates over the coming days on the Run Geordie Run Facebook page, on Instagram and Twitter.

Finally, please sponsor me with any amount you can using my Virgin Money Giving page in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice at

Thanks in advance. Watch this space for updates over the coming nine days.