Run Geordie Run's epic challenge may go to the wire

Fundraiser Mark Allison may still be doing his charity Australian run just hours before he catches his flight home

Run Geordie Run Mark Allison with personal fitness trainer David Fairlamb
Run Geordie Run Mark Allison with personal fitness trainer David Fairlamb

Run Geordie Run’s Australian challenge will go right to the wire as he is set to finally finish his charity run just hours before he flies home.

Mark Allison has been pushed to the limit during his gruelling 2,600-mile run, from one side of Australia to the other.

The father-of-one hopes to complete his epic challenge down under late tonight. But with 61 miles left to go, he may not get to the finish line until tomorrow, hours before he catches his flight to the UK.

He said: “I have got 61 miles to do to the finish line. I have got all of Saturday and about four or five hours on Sunday morning to get through those miles.

“I don’t know what to do tactically yet. I don’t know whether to recreate what I did in America in the last day and run 60 miles, or split it into two and get the bulk of it done on Saturday and then finish in daylight on Sunday.

“Anything can happen and I am just going to leave it as late as possible to decide, see how I feel, see how my feet hold up, because at the moment they are very badly damaged.”

Since beginning his challenge in October, Mark has encountered a number of setbacks and has run much of the way with severe pain in his feet.

Mark, of Blyth, Northumberland, admits he has been tested to the limit, both physically and mentally.

He said: “This is not what I expected. I knew it was going to be hell, I knew it was going to be difficult, I knew it would be traumatic. It has just been two or three times the amount of all of that.

“The conditions have been very unforgiving. The weather has been unseasonably hot and that has had an effect on my feet.

“I really should have given this run up perhaps six or seven weeks ago, I was in so much pain. On a daily basis I was thinking I cannot go on with this pain.

“But I got through it and I keep battling on, my feet only have a couple of days left in them.

“The finish line can’t come quick enough really.

“The mental battle far outweighs what I thought it was going to be. It has been horrendous. I have almost lost my mind, possibly at times I have lost my mind, and I’ve been at rock bottom.

“I have risked physical and mental health here. It has been so, so difficult.”

Mark’s finish point is Shellharbour in New South Wales.

His challenge has so far raised more than £41,000 to be split between the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Children’s Foundation. His personal target is to reach a minimum of £50,000.

He said: “This has been an incredible challenge. But looking at the fund for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Children’s Foundation, and the way that has increased considerably over the last few weeks, I have got to say it’s been worth it.

“The fund needs to go even higher to make it fully worth it. It is tremendous the generosity of so many people. I would love it to get to the £50,000 target I have set myself.

“I never take anybody’s generosity for granted and the kindness and support that has come my way during the run across Australia has been far greater than that during the run across America two years ago.”

Last week, the 42-year-old announced that his Australian challenge was over due to safety concerns, as he said it was too dangerous to keep travelling along one of the country’s most deadly roads – the Hume Highway. But, within hours, he had a sudden change of heart and mapped out a different, safer, route for the last leg of his journey.

Mark set out from Cottesloe Beach, near Perth, 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, a series of difficulties meant the self-imposed deadline was shifted to allow him to continue to his new destination.

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