Charity fundraiser Mark Allison has reversed his decision to abandon his Australian challenge – saying he is more determined than ever to complete the coast-to-coast run.
After saying on Friday that he could no longer continue his 2,600-mile run due to safety concerns, Mark backtracked to give one last push to get to the finish line.
Finishing his run will not be without its difficulties, however, as his feet are numb and his route is likely to see him run on some uneven ground.
Mark, dubbed Run Geordie Run, yesterday tweeted: “New dressings on my feet. Blisters have healed well. No improvement in numb feeling.”
The father-of-one will embark on the last leg of his journey to the coastal town of Shellharbour on January 1 after taking some rest.
He must run a final 140 miles and is expected to reach his destination on January 3. Mark’s challenge has so far raised £39,260 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Children’s Foundation.
Liz Luff, from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: “Mark will be running up Macquarrie Pass, which is very steep and contains a large number of hairpin bends. After this point, it will be 15 miles to the finish line. He is mentally and physically exhausted by this run, which has been so much harder than he anticipated.
“He is more determined than ever to complete this challenge despite the problems with his feet, which have become numb. We are 100% behind him.”
After 73 days and 2,267 miles of searing heat and intense pain in his feet, Mark said it was too dangerous to keep running along one of Australia’s most deadly roads – the Hume Highway.
Yet, within hours, he had a change of heart and mapped out a different route. The new end point is 40 miles shorter than the previous route and is much safer.
Mark, of Blyth, Northumberland, previously posted online: “I can not fail, I can not come this far with all this support and all the effort from the support team to fail and let people down. I’ve had so many supportive messages, and I don’t want to let anyone down, ever.
“People must appreciate the nature of this run, it’s not something you just go out and do, it changes day to day, many times it’s changed hour to hour and sometimes it has changed minute to minute. You don’t know what you are going to get.”
Mark set out from Cottesloe Beach, near Perth on October 16 and originally planned to run around 41 miles for 62 of the following 70 days, arriving at Bondai Beach in Sydney on Christmas Eve. However, in early November he suffered severe pain in his feet as he crossed the Nullarbor Plain, almost calling his journey off and just continued with the help of strong painkillers, but the injury slowed him down.
That in turn saw him run through his rest days, taking just one day off in 67, but as his self imposed deadline approached – and he had to hand back the hired motorhome in which he had lived for the previous 10 weeks – he still had more than 220 miles to go.
Mark is still working out the finer details, but the final route will require him to run around 90 miles on motorway and 50 miles on safer roads.