The kindness of people kept a superfit fundraiser going on Stage 5 of his gruelling running challenge around the world – which saw him raise almost £40,000 for his chosen charities.
Mark Allison, aka Run Geordie Run, has just returned after running 808 miles in 48 days from Belgrade, Serbia, through Romania to Kyiv, Ukraine, pulling an 18 stone buggy called Chappie.
Mark, from Bedlington, Northumberland, was joined at the end of Stage 5 in Kyiv by his relieved wife, Donna, after his latest trip saw him running unsupported and sleeping alone in Chappie every night.
Said Mark, who lost 2.5 stone on this trip:
“I soon realised that you don’t get very far with Chappie without being asked a lot of questions and seeing kindness from people along the way. They would bring me food and water and it was very humbling. It made for a richer journey and a lot of the Serbians, Romanians and Ukranians donated money to St Benedict’s Hospice along the way.
“Physically, this challenge was exhausting and the hills were relentless, but I had the stamina from my work outs in the gym. One of the hardest things to deal with was the lack of sleep but even through I was running unsupported, I rarely felt alone because of all the kindness of people.”
Mark, 47, started his world challenge – a circumnavigation of the planet covering 20,000 miles in 657 days – in 2007 to raise funds for charities, including St Benedict’s Hospice in Ryhope, Sunderland. He hopes to finish in New Zealand in 2026.
Chappie is made from carbon fibre and built courtesy of sponsor Chapman Ventilation. Mark dragged it behind him as he pounded the roads, by day using it for cooking and storage, by night, as a cheap and convenient bed.
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’s next challenge is the Great North Run before starting Stage 6 in 2021, running from Kiev to Astana, Kazakhstan – this time for a gruelling 2100 miles.
Over the years, Mark 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 – and raised more than £13,000 with Stage 5.
His main sponsor for the event is copy, print, scan provider, SOS Group and Mark said others have also been keen to get on board.
Catrina Flynn, head of fundraising operations at the hospice, said:
“Mark has done phenomenally well to run more than 800 miles pulling 18 stone. We’ve followed his progress all the way and we’re so grateful that he’s raised so much for us. He’s an inspirational fundraiser.”
Andrew Skelton, a director at SOS Group, said:
“Everyone at SOS Group is extremely glad Mark’s back safe and well. We’re very proud to support his Run Around the World and to help raise funds for a charity we know is close to the hearts of many people.
“Mark’s dedication is remarkable and we’re thrilled that he’s completed another stage successfully.”
Anyone still wishing to donate can do so via: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun