An endurance runner has set off on the latest leg of his around the world challenge.
Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison set off from Tynemouth on Monday ahead of the next stage of his 20,000 mile run – tackling the punishing 3,400 miles across Europe from May 1.
Mark, from Bedlington, is running to raise money for the The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
The latest leg will take him through 14 countries and includes the Pyrenees and Alps mountain ranges, 15 Tour de France climbs and one Giro d’Italia climb.
Mark, who has already run across America and Australia, said: “This run is a big step up for me in terms of distance and especially elevation.
“It’s 300 miles longer than my run across America and I’ll be doing it in the same number of days.
“The logistics of running through so many different countries brings with it a whole new set of challenges, too. Europe’s certainly been a lot more difficult to plan for than previous runs.
“I’m looking forward to actually getting started and putting all the preparation into effect. But knowing there are 9,000ft climbs like the Stelvio Pass and 15 Tour de France climbs ahead of me is daunting.
“I’m very lucky to have a great Support Team around me, all volunteers and all paying their own way, but in the end I know this is down to me putting one foot in front of the other no matter how hard it becomes.
“My main aim is to do the two charities justice and repay the faith people have put in me when they’ve donated.”
After leaving Lisbon, in Portugal, on May 1, Mark is aiming to finish in Istanbul, Turkey, 100 days later.
His headline sponsor is Team Valley-based office technology and services company, SOS Group Ltd while there is additional support from Fresh Freight Group, Chapman Ventilation, Cherry Active, D-Line Cable Management, Brooks Running Shoes, Virgin Money and Sport Newcastle.
Volunteers also make up the Run Geordie Run Support Team, paying their own travel expenses to accompany Mark each day.
Libby Nolan, fundraising manager for The Children’s Foundation, said: “We are so proud to call Mark our Ambassador and as he sets off on another of his challenges we wish him and his support team all the luck in the world.”
“We will be cheering him on all of the way and are so grateful to how much everyone has put into making this run successful. Projects such as our Clown Doctors at the Great North Children’s Hospital will benefit from the funds raised and help children and young people from across the North East and North Cumbria.”
Sir Bobby Robson’s son, Andrew Robson, said: “The amount of preparation that’s gone into organising this run is absolutely incredible. And of course Mark’s also been very busy fundraising for the two charities, too.
“I’m told this run is even further than Mark’s run across the USA and it has a lot of very significant climbs.
“We’re very proud of Mark. This is will be an extremely tough challenge and we’ll be thinking of him every day.”
After Europe, Mark will tackle the Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan leg (2018), then China (2020), Japan (2021) and New Zealand (2022), depending on Mark’s circumstances.
For more information about Run Geordie Run Around the World please visit www.rungeordierun.com and follow Mark on Twitter @RunGeordieRun.
Anyone who would like to donate to the two charities, The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun