Run Geordie Run: Challenge getting ever tougher on Mark's feet

Fitness expert David Fairlamb gives an update on Run Geordie Run man Mark Allison and his 2,600-mile challenge running across Australia

Mark Allison on his run across Australia
Mark Allison on his run across Australia

Run Geordie Run charity fundraiser Mark Allison is powering ahead with his gruelling 2,600-mile challenge across Australia.

For 70 days, Mark, of Blyth, Northumberland, will run 41 miles each day, while enduring the soaring heat of the Australian outback to raise vital funds for charity.

The Journal is backing Mark’s epic adventure and in support we launched our 41 Challenge, where we will urge readers to make positive lifestyle changes, such as walking an extra 41 minutes a day or climbing 41 stairs.

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, as well as a new weekly challenge to focus on.

Day 14

The swelling on Mark’s feet has slightly improved, meaning he could wear a new pair of trainers which gave him slightly more support.

Today was made even tougher due to a weak mobile phone signal. This meant the boosts of energy he normally receives from reading his Twitter feed was non-existent. This was confirmed as he lost the mental battle and stopped at 33.75 miles, proving just how colossal this challenge is going to be over the next 56 days. Its certainly takes something major to break Mark.

Day 15

This run is big news in Australia and Mark spoke via satellite phone to ABC Perth breakfast show hosted by Jonathan Morrell, a former Real radio host in England.

After running 27 miles it was time for his second radio interview of the day. This time it was with Gary and Lisa from the Real Radio breakfast show, they and all the Real team continue to be a huge support to Mark.

A positive day led to Mark clocking 41.25 miles – parts of it were pretty quick due to him spotting some gigantic spiders. This takes his grand total to 542.67 miles in 15 days!

Only one negative – he lost two toenails which has left him in yet more pain.

Day 16

The sheer agony, not only from Mark’s feet, but his whole body meant he hardly slept at all last night. Mark’s feet were a mess when he ran across the USA but they are already a whole lot worse – this is very worrying. Add the fact it was over 35 Celsius meant it was a torturous day.

Only 11.4 miles were completed, the lowest day’s total so far.

I rang Mark as I was very concerned about him and delighted that he sounded upbeat and positive. He felt he would come back mentally and physically much stronger after a longer rest – I felt he had definitely made the correct decision to stop today.

Day 17

The longer rest yesterday meant Mark’s feet had vastly improved and his energy levels were topped up once again. But there was a new enemy in town – horse flies. This constant irritation meant Mark didn’t want to lift his fly net up as often therefore wasn’t drinking enough fluid.

He tweeted “Time for a #tacticalsnooze. 20 fly-infested miles done.”

With the temperatures rising dramatically again, Mark finished on 30 miles. His feet are a complete mess and he now has a problem with his heel.

Mark is really suffering out there and it’s only day 17, worrying times for him and all those involved.

Day 18

Today Mark reaches the longest straight road in the world on Eyre Highway, it’s 90 miles long – what a mental battle ahead! Good news was the temperature was slightly cooler, plus there were no flies – what a bonus!

Mark and support man Jason knew the next two days were crucial to get back on track and 41 miles per day was a necessity.

He tweeted: “Thank you to the family who drove up beside me and gave such wonderful encouragement at the start of this 90-mile stretch of road.

“601 miles ran so far. Less than 2,000 to #Bondi.”

What a day – 41.2 miles covered, the second quickest day so far – what a relief he is back on it!

Day 19

The weather forecast for the next few days suggests a chance of thunderstorms and a relative humidity of at least 80-90%. The Australian weather has proved to be unforgiving.

The recovery van is often sent a few miles ahead and Jason the support man will have water/food ready as Mark passes, however as he is running along the longest straight road in the world he can see the RV in the distance and this is proving to be mentally too tough to take, so tactics have been changed.

Running these sort of distances means Mark can be on the go for 16 hours a day, this is a mind-blowing amount of time running on your own day after day, please think about what Mark is doing and donate details are below.

35.5 miles was completed today and the great news is the £19,000 barrier was broken today.

Day 20

Mark tweeted: “It’s 25 years to the day since my dad lost his battle against cancer. Running in his memory today.”

Every step taken today, I’m sure, was for Mark’s dad who would have been hugely proud of all Mark has accomplished for the charities and the way he battles these epic runs.

Every day seems to bring a new challenge and today it was a head wind, along with the 34 Celsius temperatures.

There was a mini celebration as Mark finally finished running the longest straight road in the world – 90 miles! Wow monotony over – well at least for this road anyway.

Mark finished the day on 32 miles, bringing the total to 692 miles run in 20 days.

My Thoughts

Mark is battling so hard and doing staggeringly well under the most extreme temperatures and living conditions.

He hasn’t had a shower for seven days due to the shortage of water in the recovery van.

The temperatures and humidity are so high he must save as much water as possible for himself to drink.

Where Mark is running means he can’t get his hands on even the basics such as water and ice for days at a time.

You now start to get an insight into how extreme a target and how big a battle Mark has set himself.

I’m looking forward to going over to help Mark and see how many miles we can redeem.

This week’s 41 challenge

The weekly challenges to date:

Week 1 - walk/run for 41 minutes per day.

Week 2 - 41 squats and/or 41 press ups. The press-ups can be full press up, half ones where you have your knees on the floor or the easiest version against a wall.

Week 3 – cut out any unhealthy snacks such as biscuits, cakes, and chocolate.


This week’s aim is to drink at least two litres of water per day. In the summer we all tend to drink much more fluids as it’s generally warmer but this is often neglected in the winter.

Drinking more fluid will also give you the feeling of being full, therefore, you tend not to eat as much.

A good tip would be to add some fresh lemon or lime for flavour.

Ideally, adding this week’s along with the previous weekly challenges would be the ultimate, but whatever you choose, stick to it 100%.

:: If you would like to donate to either of Mark’s two charities, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation or the Children’s Foundation, you can find all the details and Mark’s blog at .

You can also follow his ongoing progress via Twitter @rungeordierun


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