Endurance runner Tony the Fridge takes detour to St James' Park in Newcastle

Endurance runner and charity fundraiser Tony ‘The Fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison arrives in Newcastle today to meet family and friends on the halfway point of his 1,000-mile run.

Tony the fridge runs on the a68 north of Otterburn
Tony the fridge runs on the a68 north of Otterburn

Carrying a Smeg fridge on his back the weight of 42 house bricks, the super-fit grandfather will run into St James’ Park and treat awaiting well-wishers to a lap of honour.

His arrival in the city marks the mid-point of his epic journey from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Running 40 marathons in 40 days will be his biggest challenge to date but he is no stranger to madcap feats of human endurance, having already completed 30 marathons in a month and a 100-mile trip around Newcastle’s Quayside in 24 hours.

Tony, 49, from Hebburn, South Tyneside, said: “It’s gone tremendously well.

“I expected the hills and mountains to possibly break me but they actually made me stronger.

“I’ve struggled with my pelvis - it’s a little bit put out and jarred from the camber in the roads in Scotland.

“My left leg is pretty dead but I haven’t had a blister and haven’t lost a toenail so my new technique of looking after my feet is working.

“They do hurt at the end of the day but by the morning they’re all right again.”

He said emotions will be running high as he enters the stadium and sees his mum Doreen, wife Janita and his four children.

“It will be quite poignant to stop at Sir Bobby’s statue at St James’ Park and I think there’s a lot of people who are going to come and see me.

“The hardest thing is knowing that I’m going to be running away from home again as I’m still part-way through.

“You have to block it out, though, there’s no room for emotions - but this is where I will be tested, when I see my family.”

After his visit to St James’ Park he expects to be joined by scores of running fans offering their support as he makes his way back out the city and on to York. Mountainous roads in the Scottish Highlands which saw him tackle ascents of 1500ft and steeply cambered roads to cope with winter snow meant his first few marathons were run at a slight angle.

“My left hip was put out by about three inches. The physio pulled it back into place but I think it’s back out again.

“The dome in the road meant my right leg was slightly higher and with the weight of the fridge it’s deadened the nerves.

“Scotland was beautiful, though, and the support I got was fantastic.

“There were lots of people leaning out their car windows and giving words of encouragement!”

He has so far raised �38,000 for the Sir Bobby Foundation and explains how the fridge is used as a metaphor for a cancer diagnosis.

“The fridge demonstrates the burden that people have to carry when they are fighting cancer,” he said.

Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patron and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has been hugely supportive of his challenge, letting him train at the club and organising an overnight stay at Rockcliffe Hall in Darlington for some recuperation during the challenge.

I expected the hills and mountains to possibly break me but they actually made me stronger

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