Run Geordie Run set for fifth stage of round-the-world challenge to raise money for Sunderland hospice
Super-fit fundraiser Run Geordie Run - AKA Mark Allison - is set to embark on the latest stage of his round-the-world running challenge, to raise money for a Sunderland hospice.
Mark is in the process of circumnavigation the planet, and cover 20,000 miles in 657 days, as he attempts to raise £30,000 for St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope.
The 46-year-old fundraise will complete a gruelling 2,900 miles, starting in Belgrade and passing through Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia, before finishing in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Joining him on the trip will be Chappie, or the Chapman Ventilation Around The World Buggy, which Mark will drag behind him as he pounds the roads, by day using it for cooking and storage, by night, as a cheap and convenient bed.
He said: “It can be claustrophobic but it’s something I’ll be relying on for 100 days to keep me warm and sheltered.
"This will be the first long campaign with Chappie. There’s still lots of training to be done.”
Mark first started fundraising in 1994 following the death of his mother, Margery Allison, from cancer.
The team at St Benedict’s Hospice cared for her and Mark said he was inspired by the treatment she received.
“They gave her as dignified and pain-free an end to her life as possible,” he said.
“It’s a debt of gratitude I’ll never be able to repay but I hope to go some way towards it.”
Mark has previously run the Great North Run and both the London and New York Marathons in aid of the hospice.
Over the years, he has raised £101,000 for the hospice and £295,000 overall for various local charities.
This year, he has set himself the target of raising £30,000 for the hospice.
The round-the-world challenge, which is divided into eight segments, will benefit a range of good causes – with stage five earmarked for the hospice.
Mark embarked on it in 2007 and hopes to finish in 2024. He has already completed 9,000 miles, with 11,000 still to run.
His main sponsor for the event is SOS Group and Mark said others have also been keen to get onboard.
“Getting to the start line is a huge challenge,” he said. “Getting enough commercial backing is the first challenge, but I’ve got more than I need by two-fold meaning that more funds have gone direct to charity.”
Mark said he was undaunted by his challenge, despite its gruelling nature.
“The desire to raise funds is as strong as it ever has been,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the different kind of challenge this brings.”
Catrina Flynn, head of fundraising operations at the hospice, said: “We’re all in awe of what Mark has already achieved and we know that when he puts his mind to something he excels.
"We’ll be following his progress online and cheering him on every step of the way.”
Andrew Skelton, a director at SOS Group, said: “We’re very proud to be Mark’s headline sponsor once again this year.
"His commitment to charitable fundraising is hugely impressive and we know how much it means to him.
“The money he raises will benefit people when they need it most and I think we can all relate to the importance of hospices like St Benedicts.
"We’ll be following his progress closely as he prepares for this epic solo run and have every faith in his ability and desire to complete it.”