Charity runner Mark Allison

CHARITY runner Mark Allison, 39, lives in Shotley Bridge with his wife, Katy and his son Jack.

CHARITY runner Mark Allison, 39, lives in Shotley Bridge with his wife, Katy and his son Jack.

Having already raised over £70k for charity, Mark is now gearing up for his biggest challenge yet, which will see him run from Los Angeles to New York in 100 days (31 miles per day) to raise money for St Benedict’s Hospice and The Children’s Foundation. Mark is due to set off to the States in May and will be writing his book, Run for Home (to be published by Tonto Books) which will be released in September.

What’s your first memory?

It was running in slow motion in the living room dressed in my red Six Million Dollar Man tracksuit. How ironic now that I have a Bionic Ankle and will be running across the USA this year. I have a specially- commissioned red Adidas Run Geordie Run tracksuit and hope to relive some of those moments from my childhood in the USA.

What were you like as a child?

I was very happy as a child, without a care in the world. I always liked to entertain people and make them laugh with my antics.

What childhood games did you play?

I loved nothing better than playing with my Star Wars toys. Many of which I still have to this day. I loved hide and seek too.

Did you have a family pet?

I had a gerbil for a few years and also a couple of goldfish.

Were your school days the best days of your life?

I’ve enjoyed all periods of my life so far for many different reasons. I’d single out this current time as the best. 2011 is a huge year for me and I not only have a chance of making my wife and eight-year old son proud but also of raising a lot of money for St Benedict’s Hospice and The Children’s Foundation.

Were you ever bullied?

Oh yes! All the time, sadly. I seemed to attract bullies just like Forrest Gump. Perhaps I wouldn’t be contemplating running across the USA without the taunts and the punches from those bullies.

What were your favourite TV programmes?

I loved Noel Edmonds Swap Shop on a Saturday morning. The Six Million Dollar Man was easily my favourite show though.

What did you want to do when you grew up?

Probably as a result of a TV series in the 80s called Whiz Kids, I wanted to be a computer programmer. It’s probably no coincidence that I’ve spent 20 years in the IT industry.

How did you spend your weekends?

Watching TV and playing outside.

Do you remember your first kiss?

Yes. Behind the garages with Kerry-Ann. I was five. She was six!

Who was your first love?

Out of fairness, all I can say is that she was a nurse.

What was the most important thing in the world to you?

Being happy and content within the setting of a loving family environment. Much the same as it is now really.

How have you changed from your teenage self?

I am now in a position to convert dreams of big challenges into reality. I didn’t have any of the necessary skills to do this during my teenage years.

Where did you go on holiday?

Every summer was spent in a caravan in Seahouses. The rocks and beaches all the way from Beadnell to Bamburgh were my playground.

Would the young you be pleased with the adult you?

Definitely! I’d be hard pushed not to be pleased at having raised over £70,000 to date for St Benedict’s Hospice and The Children’s Foundation and a successful 874-mile run from John O’Groats to Lands End in the bag.

If you could go back in time what would tell your 15-year old self?

Make the most of the time you have with your parents. They won’t be around forever. My dad died when I was 17 and my mam died when I was 23.

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