Sunday 12 September 2021

Team Run Geordie Run 2022

Are you sat there watching the Great North Run coverage this year thinking "I wish I could do that" or "I would love to do that but I'll never get a place"? I'm pleased to report that there are now places available on Team Run Geordie Run for the 2022 Great North Run in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice (Charity No. 1019410). 

The cost of signing up to Team Run Geordie Run is £58 for those who have never been on the team before or £29 for those that have. There is a commitment to raise £300 for St. Benedict's Hospice

Team Run Geordie Run members will receive: 
  • Entry to the 2022 Great North Run.
  • Exclusive Team Run Geordie Run t-shirt (or vest if you prefer). Additional t-shirts/vests are available to purchase.
  • Access to the St. Benedict's Hospice hospitality marquee in the charity village near the finish line. This is where you can enjoy refreshments and meet up with family and friends.
  • Exclusive Team Run Geordie Run goodie bag* at St. Benedict's Hospice hospitality marquee.           * Alcohol content only available to those entrants 18 or over.
  • Half price entry to the 2023 Great North Run as part of Team Run Geordie Run.

If you'd like to do the Great North Run in 2022 in aid of St. Benedict's Hospice then please complete the form below to register your interest.

Friday 10 September 2021

Bloody enjoying myself

Things have definitely changed for me over the last few months. By that, I specifically mean my effort levels in training. I’m writing this today, still with the buzz from last nights session at David Fairlamb Fitness. 

I must admit that I’d been looking forward to it since I left the gym on Tuesday. By the time I got there yesterday, I was totally up for giving absolutely everything and having absolutely nothing left to give. The thing with Dave’s sessions are they are all varied. You never know what you are going to get. There is always a mixture of cardio, strength, plyometrics and so on. A whole manner of equipment is used including ropes, hammer and tyres (my personal favourite pictured below), Watt Bikes, ski machines, Versaclimbers (2nd favourite also pictured below), traditional weights, slam balls and much more. There is very little rest across the 45 minute session. You always feel like you’re constantly on the go. As a result, I always feel very focussed and the session tends to fly over. 

I do two back to back sessions on a Monday and Thursday. If the first session sees an above average amount of effort given (and it has the last few weeks) then I know I’m in for a torrid time during that second session. Last night was a perfect example. 

As I have seen many times during the run around the world and particularly across the USA, when I’m very fatigued I can dig in and start to perform at an unexpected higher level. I’ve not often seen this in any training I’ve ever done until this year at Dave’s gym. The image below shows heart rate (a good sign of the effort I’m putting in across the 2 circled sessions). 

The yellow lines are where my heart rate is 80% - 90% of max and red is above 90%. The next image below is something I use from the Athlytic app which shows effort levels compared to the average for this type of session. Last night was a pleasing 18.6% higher than average. This figure should come down over time when I put in consistently higher than average levels of effort. 

These kinds of stats have really helped to give me focus over recent months. While Dave provides a perfect platform to train, it’s up to me to grasp that opportunity, give my all and continue to improve. 

Aside from the obvious physical benefits of getting fitter and stronger there is another side to this. It’s something that I’ve mentioned many times over the last 14 months. The mental health benefit that I’ve seen has been massive. You will have seen me say things like “I come away from the gym feeling like a world beater” or “I feel like I could take on the world” or "I feel like a million dollars". 

The effect a session like last night has on me stays with me for days. Or at least until the next session which is Beach Bootcamp at Tynemouth tomorrow! 

There is still a very long way to go on this journey. The foundations that have been built over the last 14 months are beyond pleasing. It’s now down to me to take this to the next level. I tell you what though, I’m bloody enjoying myself right now.

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Meeting at St. Benedict's Hospice

I met with the fundraising staff at St. Benedict's Hospice today. On the agenda was a look back at the last Stage X campaign and also what the plans are for the immediate future. 

The total amount raised, thanks to an incredible amount of generosity, for this campaign currently stands at £12,750.43. That is a fantastic amount but, had it not been for the pandemic, I’m convinced that it would have been a lot more. 

Of course, this was the year where I should have ran from Kiev to Nur Sultan as part of the run around the world. As with previous stages, that would have seen a fundraising target of £50,000. We were also due to have a fundraising ball this year. Sadly, all of those plans went by the wayside during the first lockdown. To have raised this sum for the Hospice, while very pleasing in one sense is, however, also personally disappointing in another. 

The next major world stage isn’t going away and will be done when it’s safe to do so. I know that I won’t be the only fundraiser or charity whose plans have been disrupted. But to raise just shy of £13,000 under these circumstances is testament to the generosity of so many kind people including a very generous set of commercial sponsors. I’m perhaps being very harsh on myself to even consider using the word “disappointing” but that’s where standards are now after 28 years of fundraising. 

I know from the reaction that I received at the Hospice today, that there is absolutely no disappointment from them. Every penny is desperately needed to help care for terminally ill people in the region and put to very good use. If you’ve donated then rest assured that your money is helping to make a positive difference. 

As ever, I felt very appreciated at the Hospice today. The truth is that my own love and appreciation for St. Benedict’s Hospice and what the staff there did for my Mam (pictured with me below) has kept me going since she died in 1995. 

Yes, I’m continuing to repay the debt of gratitude, but being a fundraiser has without doubt had a huge positive impact on my life. Fundraising is essentially an unpaid job that attracts a lot of love, generosity, positivity and the chance to meet all manner of kind and interesting people. It has been and continues to be the biggest asset that I have when dealing with grief. Long may that continue. 

Back to today and I was happy to see the excited look when I discussed my future fundraising plans. I’ll talk more about those in greater detail next month. Although watch out for one exciting announcement as early as this Sunday. 

I left St. Benedict’s Hospice today feeling very positive as I always do. There was a peaceful quiet about the place and the sun was shining brightly. I’ll close tonight by again thanking everyone who has donated this year. Your support is massively appreciated. Thanks also to main sponsor Chapman Ventilation and also Taylored-fit Physio, D-Line, Steven Bell Properties, Active Edge, Northumberland Tea, and David Fairlamb Fitness.