HE inspired the region with his 3,100-mile cross-country charity challenge.
Now Run Geordie Run hero Mark Allison has become the face of the Journal’s Great North Fitness Revolution.
The 40-year-old, who last week made a triumphant return from America after running across the country in 100 days, will be an ambassador for our campaign to improve the health of the region.
Mark, from Shotley Bridge, in County Durham, who lost five stone during his journey, is now hoping to use his amazing feat to encourage others on the road to fitness.
Mark dedicated the run to his father Terry, who died of cancer in 1988, and brother David, killed by a brain haemorrhage in 1998.
Mark, who is married to Katy, 38, and has a son Jack, eight, has raised more than £85,000 for St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland and the Children’s Foundation.
He said: “I think the Great North Fitness Revolution is a fantastic idea.
“It’s such an important issue and I think it’s a chance to make a real difference.
“Obesity is an epidemic. I saw a lot of it when I was in America and I think the UK and the North East is in a way becoming like that.
“We need to address this now, as ten years down the line, this epidemic will put a lot of strain on our health services.
“So for the GPs, the hospitals and for the people of the region themselves, it’s important that we make changes now. Even if people start out going for a walk, that could eventually turn into a run and that small change could end up making a big difference.
“And people have no excuse for not getting involved. We’re really spoiled for choice up here in the North East with so many great facilities. We’ve got some of the most fantastic beaches and some amazing scenery.
“One thing we’re doing as a family is going for a walk instead of having a dessert. As typical Geordies, we used to love a pudding, but now we go out as a family instead.
“This is the sort of little thing that people can do. It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference in the long-term. I’m really looking forward to getting involved in the campaign and hope to help to encourage others.”
Mr Allison covered 60 miles on the last day of his 100-day run – meeting his self-imposed deadline with just 50 minutes to spare.
He completed his run at New York’s famous Coney Island funfair.
The Great North Fitness Revolution was launched by the Bupa Great North Run and The Journal to get the North East active and tackle the problem of obesity in the region.
Together we are encouraging as many people as possible to make even small improvements to what they eat and drink and what they do for exercise.
The Great North Fitness Revolution website has information about the many ways you can improve your health and fitness.
To pledge your commitment to being part of a fitter, healthier North East, visit www.greatnorthfitnessrevolution.org.