In just 26 days’ time, Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison will be setting off on the next leg of his Run Around The World challenge in aid of St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland.
Mark, 46 from Bedlington, will be picking up his run where he left off, in Belgrade, and aims to complete a gruelling 2,900 miles on this fifth leg of his challenge – passing through Serbia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and finishing in Astana, Kazakhstan.
Once again, he is being supported by his headline sponsors, digital office services company, SOS Group, who have helped enable Mark’s transport, training and necessary equipment.
However, in contrast with his previous runs, this time Mark will be without a support team or support vehicle on the run itself.
Instead, his only means of shelter and storage will be a specially designed buggy called ‘Chappie,’ which he will tow behind him as he runs.
Today (Tuesday 8 May), Mark visited one of SOS Group’s clients, Corbridge Church of England First School in Northumberland, to show the pupils ‘Chappie’ and to talk to them about his epic challenge.
Mark says: “I really enjoyed talking to the children about my run Around The World. There were some fantastic questions put to me as you’d expect.
“And it was very inspiring to see the children run around the track on the school field. We might have some future Team GB stars there!”
To complete Run Geordie Run Around The World, Mark plans to circumnavigate the planet covering 20,000 miles in 657 days to raise funds for charity. He has already ‘ticked off’ the UK, USA, Australia and a significant part of Europe.
He will be using ‘Chappie’ – or the Chapman Ventilation Around The World Buggy to give it its full name (built courtesy of sponsor, Chapman Ventilation) – for cooking and storage by day and, by night, as a convenient bed.
Mark visited Corbridge Church of England First School to raise awareness of his epic challenge and to help inspire the children, who had a ‘daily mile track’ installed at their school this year.
The pupils enjoyed hearing about Mark’s adventures and asked many questions about his next plans and ‘Chappie’.
Andrew Skelton, director at SOS Group, says: “As a company, we’re very proud to sponsor Mark and it’s fantastic to see the interest his visit today has created. The children have asked some great questions, probably questions adults wouldn’t think to ask, and it’s good to know the pupils are now even more inspired to get out there and run themselves.”
To reach Astana, Mark will be running 31 miles per day, which will allow him just seven rest days during the 100 day run, and pulling his fully laden buggy that weighs 110kg (17.3 stone). His visit caused a buzz of excitement at the school and a group of pupils from Corbridge Middle School also came to meet him.
Miss Jennifer Ainsley, Head Teacher, says: “Through the installation of our ‘daily mile track’ in school this year, the children’s interest and understanding of running is being developed.
“They’re always excited about raising money for others and now, following Mark’s visit, they want to set a new school running challenge in order to achieve this.
“Our running adventures in school have begun and, with great inspiration from Mark, we continue to encourage the children to achieve all they can.”
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.
Mark has previously run the Great North Run and both the London and New York Marathons in aid of the hospice. This year, he has set himself the target of raising £30,000 for the charity.
His Run Around The World is divided into eight segments and has benefited a range of good causes – with stage five earmarked for the hospice. Mark embarked on the challenge in 2007 and hopes to finish it in 2024.
He has already completed 9,000 miles, with 11,000 still to run, and has raised an incredible £298,000 for local good causes to date.
SOS Group Ltd launched in 2002 to supply digital office equipment, related software and support. It is based on the Team Valley, with an additional office in Bristol, and services ‘blue chip’ clients nationally and, increasingly, internationally.
It employs 20 staff and is equally at home providing digital office equipment in a standard business environment and within the highly-charged atmosphere of world-class sporting competitions.
The company has provided digital office equipment services at a number of high-profile sporting events over the last year, including the IAAF World Athletics Championships and World Para Athletics Championships in London, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham and the British Swimming Summer Championships and Special Olympics GB National Games in Sheffield.
For more information, please visit www.rungeordierun.com.