FROM the City of Angels to the Big Apple, marathon man Mark Allison is preparing to run across America in a bid to help raise funds for a Wearside hospice.
The 39-year-old has set himself a target of 100 days to complete the feat, which is expected to raise thousands of pounds for St Benedict’s Hospice.
The centre, at Monkwearmouth Hospital, provides palliative care to patients and their families affected by life-threatening illness.
Mark has now finalised his route from the east to west coast, across 13 states, covering 3,100 miles.
Starting on May 1 at California, he will complete legs through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey to the finishing straight in New York state.
“I’m like a coiled spring,” he said. “I can’t wait to get started on the run.”
The dad-of-one will visit some of North America’s most stunning landmarks, including the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas, Berthoud Pass in the Colorado Rockies, the “Rocky Steps” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Broadway in New York.
The IT contractor, of County Durham, will be running in memory of his mother Margery, as well as his father Terry who died of cancer in 1988 and his brother David who died from a brain haemorrhage in 1998.
In the summer of 2007, he ran 874 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 37 days, raising £34,108 for St Benedict’s Hospice.
His mother spent her final days there as her battle against cancer came to an end in 1995.
“The caring and professional hospice staff ensured my mum was as comfortable as possible and gave her a dignified end to her life,” he said. “The hospice is currently launching an appeal to extend its Hospice at Home service to allow its palliative care team to care for patients across Sunderland and South Tyneside at home.”
“I hope to contribute to that fund-raising as much as possible”
HOW TO HELP:
FOR a £2 donation, members of the public can ask Mark to run a “mile in memory” of their lost loved one at any stage on his run across America.
A book deal with independent publisher, Tonto Books, will also see him chronicle the ups and downs of his journey.
Scores of celebrities have already pledged messages of support, including TV presenters Ben Shephard, pictured left with Mark, Lorraine Kelly and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
For more information about the run, which will also raise funds for The Children’s Foundation, visit www.rungeordierun.com