A charity runner has secured a headline sponsor to help him go the extra mile in his latest epic challenge.
Endurance runner Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison will set off on the next leg of his Around the World challenge in May.
Mark, of Bedlington, will run from Lisbon in Portugal to Istanbul in Turkey – a total of 3,400 punishing miles.
And he has secured Team Valley-based office technology and services company SOS Group as headline sponsor, helping cover travel expenses and increase fundraising opportunities.
Mark has also found a committed support team member in company director Andrew Skelton.
Mark said: “I first met Andrew and his fellow SOS Group directors at a student awards night where I was the guest speaker. They were very interested in my fundraising and how I was going about it and things just went from there.
“They’re a tremendous help. I’ve previously self-financed charity runs and it’s a huge strain. To have a company come in and take that load off me, when there’s already so much preparation, training and planning required, is simply fantastic.”
Andrew, a father-of-three, is using the challenge to get fit and lose weight, working with both David Fairlamb Fitness and Mineral House, in Newcastle’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The 46-year-old said: “I was as heavy as 19 stones last year and talking to Mark, hearing about his plans was inspirational for me.
“I’ve already lost two and half stones and I’m working hard to lose more. I ran the Great North Run for the first time in 27 years last year and my aim is not only to be fit enough to provide support to Mark on the road, the driving, cooking etc, but to also run with him when he needs it.
“To be able to run five or six miles with him over the course of a day would be a great thing for me and I hope having company will help him too.”
Andrew is joining Mark twice – for nine days starting in Vigo, Spain, and for eight days starting in Belgrade.
Susan Hall, spa and leisure manager at Mineral House, said: “We are delighted to support Andrew in his quest to get fit for such a fantastic course.”
Mark’s Around the World Run is the continuation of previous charity runs down the UK and across the USA and Australia, raising money for The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Generous commercial sponsors, including SOS Group Ltd, are enabling Mark to raise additional charity funds through t-shirt sales and events, while sports therapists, fitness instructors and training partners are helping ensure he is preparing himself correctly for the tough challenge that lies ahead.
Sponsors are also helping kit Mark out with the specialist equipment, dietary supplements and footwear required.
In addition to headline sponsor SOS Group Ltd, Mark is receiving support from Fresh Freight Group, Chapman Ventilation, Cherry Active, Virgin Money and Sport Newcastle.
It will take Mark until at least 2022 to finish the Round the World challenge and he will have to do it in eight segments as family life, work and finances permit.
He will need to cover a total of 20,000 miles, over four continents and through 23 countries and it will take him approximately 608 days to complete.
For more information about Run Geordie Run Around the World please visit www.rungeordierun.com and follow Mark on Twitter @RunGeordieRun
To donate to the two charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun.