Run Geordie Run forced to call off Australia challenge over safety concerns (From The Northern Echo)
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Run Geordie Run forced to call off Australia challenge over safety concerns
MARATHON man Mark Allison has been forced to abandon his mammoth challenge to run across Australia on safety grounds – just 180 miles short of his goal.
The 42-year-old, better known as Run Geordie Run, has run 2,267 miles and taken everything Australia could throw at him, including heat so intense it was subject of an extreme weather warning, relentless flies and terrifying storms.
He has been running about 40 miles a day and had hoped to end the challenge at Bondi Beach, Sydney.
But today was far harder than he could have anticipated and he was forced to stop the challenge on the finishing straight after he felt it too dangerous to keep going on the notorious Hume Highway motorway.
He said: “It’s quite literally the end of the road for me. I gave it my best shot and then some. The run finishes at Yass, 73 days after leaving Perth.
“I’ve caused enough people enough worry. The Hume Highway has already claimed victims this month and I’m not going to be one of them.”
Running in partnership with the North-East’s Benfield Motor Group, he has raised over £37,000. Mr Allison said: “I’ve just got too much left to do.
“I’ve reached the motorway section of the run, which was always going to be a potentially dangerous bit.
“But, because I’ve run low on time, I’d need to be running at least two hours a day in darkness and without a support vehicle.
“This isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly. But ultimately I can’t put myself at that kind of risk. I hope everyone who has supported me will understand my decision. I just think this is the run which isn’t meant to be.”
He added: “Really I should have stopped at the beginning of November when I was struggling in the extreme heat of the Nullabor and when my feet were pretty much destroyed. I’ve never known pain like it and I’m proud that I wasn’t defeated then.
“My feet are pretty much numb now, which is another concern. I don’t know what I’m running on because I can’t feel it. I know in myself, it’s time to stop.
"I've ran through intense heat and the weather for the remainder of my time in Australia is going to be a lot cooler. That's frustrating.”
He added: “This is really a tough decision to take. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I hope everyone who has donated to the two charities knows I’ve given this challenge absolutely everything I have. This one was just not meant to be.
"In my opinion, what I've achieved in Australia this year eclipses my achievement in the USA in 2011.”
Mr Allison lost both his parents to cancer when he was a young man and he has spent 20 years raising funds for good causes in the North-East.
In 2011, he put £15,000 of his own money into a 3,100 mile US run from California to New York, raising more than £105,000 for St Benedict’s Hospice and the Children’s Foundation.
Sir Bobby’s son, Mark Robson says: “We’re 100 per cent behind Mark’s decision to stop the run now.
“We’ve said to him all though this challenge that his safety, and that of his support team, is of primary importance.
“This run has been so much harder than he could possibly have anticipated. I’ve been thinking about what he’s been going through every day.
“We think he’s super human and we’re extremely proud that he has been putting himself through this to help raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”
Libby Nolan, fundraising manager for The Children’s Foundation, said: “We couldn’t be more thrilled with Mark’s incredible efforts. He is an astounding individual with determination unlike most other human beings.
“We are so proud of him."
More information is available at www.rungeordierun.com or on Twitter @RunGeordieRun.
Anyone who would like to donate to the two charities should contact www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun.
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