Run Geordie Run charity fundraiser Mark Allison has only weeks left of his gruelling 2,600-mile challenge across Australia. For 70 days, Mark, of Blyth, Northumberland, will have run 41 miles each day, while enduring the soaring heat of the Australian outback to raise vital funds for the charities, the Children’s Foundation and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Personal trainer David Fairlamb is helping Mark to complete his mammoth task and each week he is giving readers an update on how the adventure is going.
Mark had an awful night’s sleep due to severe thunderstorms, this delayed his start time by a few hours.
As the clouds cleared the heat soared and unfortunately strong winds arrived, this made running very tough.
His exhausted body was now fighting strong head winds - it was one battle after another!
He pushed on to complete a gruelling 25.85 miles.
“If I don’t get close to 300 miles of running over the next 7 days then this event is all but over. That’s a fact.”
“My body is screaming out for a lengthy rest. My mind is doing its best to keep in the game. This is easily the toughest challenge I’ve ran.”
Mark’s mileage deficit was now at a critical point and if he did not get big miles in over the next 7 days, his chances of hitting Bondi beach by Xmas eve would virtually be over.
Mark had soaked his feet in a new substance over the last few days and they has dramatically improved which was just as well as he had a hilly day – 1,800ft at the summit the highest point so far.
It was good to hear that locals were still stopping Mark and after hearing his story usually give a donation, today was no different, this always gives Mark a boost.
Mark was on for a record day but after 35 miles the storms returned and over the next 3 miles he got cold and very wet - he called it a day on 38.7 miles
“The storm has stopped play on 38.7 miles. I’m freezing. I’m calling it a day. 1,638 miles done in total.”
Today was a disastrous day for Mark he woke up extremely drained which is inevitable having run 1,638 miles in 50 days plus his calorie deficit was also still an issue.
He just couldn’t shake the mental and physical fatigue and finished the day having completed only 12 miles.
This was now a time to seriously consider how he was going to play the rest of this run, something needed to change.
He needed to hit new tactics and use a different mental approach. Its difficult for those around him to know what to say because it’s a thin line between motivating Mark or upsetting him. Ultimately Mark needed to roll his sleeves up get angry and attack this run….day 52 needed to be huge mileage
Tactics were changed today and he sent the RV 35 miles down the road this meant no stopping just sheer focus. It was, as usual, a very quiet road with only the odd kangaroo to keep Mark company. He flew through the 26 mile point and just using the energy supplies in his waist pack he hit 35 miles. After a short break he was back on the road and powered on finishing on a superb 46.1 miles, a record day!!
“Mile 46 was 9 mins 3 seconds. The 2nd quickest mile of the tour. 4 seconds away from the quickest mile.”
“Very pleased with today’s run. Carried a full hydration pack on my back and round my waist all day. All to do again tomorrow.”
Tactics changed and new records were set – a fantastic day for Mark.
After yesterday’s 13 hours of running today was always going to be tough especially as it was over 30 Celsius again. Mark passed the 1,700 mile point and was left with a distance of 768 to Bondi Beach.
“Despite the heat I’m feeling strong today. Just got to get mileage in high 30s and regroup tomorrow.”
Over the course of the last 2 weeks Mark’s feet had made excellent progress, there were no signs of infection and the original damaged skin has dried out.
However, at 30 miles Mark had developed a huge fresh blister on his right foot and stopped running at 30.29 miles.
“I’ll be gritting my teeth while full of painkillers tomorrow. Left foot is healed now it’s the right ones turn to cause me pain.”
Today Mark needed big miles, however, at 05.30 temperatures had already reached 22 Celsius.
The tactics were the same as the last few days to load up his waist band and Camel Bak carrying up to 7 litres of fluids for maximum hydration.
He also carried sufficient gels and bars so he could maintain his energy levels allowing the meeting points to be much further away.
After 26 miles he had a break and soaked his feet, the humidity and temperature was totally unforgiving - there was no hiding place today.
Here are a few of Marks tweets
“37.2 miles done and my right foot won’t take any more pain. 706 miles to #bondi.”
“I tried so hard today to get the amount of remaining miles down to less than 700. It’s been a sweltering day so it’s hard to complain.”
“It’s just after 8 at night and it’s still 35 Celsius. There is no breeze and the RV is like an oven. We have a mosquito invasion going on.”
“The battle here in Australia isn’t just out there on the road. It’s everywhere. It never ends.”
Only 16 days left.
After 3 miles Mark arrived at the Victoria border. This was the final time zone change for the run across Australia, although this also meant that he instantly lost 30 minutes of his running as a result. The border also presented rain which meant a whole new level of awareness.
The passing vehicles especially road trucks generate masses of spray, drivers usually move into the middle of the road to allow Mark sufficient space but the rain became too much and Mark was becoming soaked through.
At 9.3 miles Mark made the call to postpone running for the day. The conditions were too dangerous and his wet trainers could aggravate his feet.
Downtime lasted 4 hours, 3 of which Mark spent sleeping. This was essential for his recuperation and preparation for big miles to follow over the next 15 days.
Mark finished on 25.75 miles for the day and tweeted
“I’ve got to make it to #mildura tomorrow or this run is over. That’s going to require a record day. It’s 50 miles away.”
Mark seems to be much more positive and has had some fantastic days this week. His original foot problem has improved although new blisters are again appearing at will.
I know Mark is ready for an all out assault for the final 2 weeks and will need all his strength, power and mental strength, working at 100% in order to finish on time.
Please send your support via twitter and if you can donate to Mark’s charities, he is desperate to reach his target of £50,000 by the time he reaches Bondi Beach.