A generous runner has completed the latest stage of his epic round the world challenge.
Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison has completed the 808 miles from Belgrade, Serbia through Romania to Kyiv, Ukraine.
Mark, from Bedlington, completed the fifth stage of his challenge in 48 days – all while pulling an 18-stone buggy called Chappie which he slept in at night.
He was met at the finish line by his wife Donna, and has raised nearly £40,000 in the process.
Mark, who lost 2.5 stone on this trip, said: “I soon realised that you don’t get very far with Chappie without being asked a lot of questions and seeing kindness from people along the way. They would bring me food and water and it was very humbling.
“It made for a richer journey and a lot of the Serbians, Romanians and Ukranians donated money to St Benedict’s Hospice along the way.
“Physically, this challenge was exhausting and the hills were relentless, but I had the stamina from my work outs in the gym.
“One of the hardest things to deal with was the lack of sleep but even through I was running unsupported, I rarely felt alone because of all the kindness of people.”
Mark, 47, started his world challenge – a circumnavigation of the planet covering 20,000 miles in 657 days – in 2007 to raise funds for charities, including St Benedict’s Hospice in Sunderland and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
He hopes to finish in New Zealand in 2026. Mark’s next challenge is the Great North Run before starting Stage 6 in 2021, running from Kiev to Astana, Kazakhstan – a gruelling 2,100 miles.
So far has raised £101,000 for the hospice and £295,000 overall.
His main sponsor for the event is copy, print, scan provider, SOS Group and Mark said others have also been keen to get on board.
Catrina Flynn, head of fundraising operations at the hospice, said: “Mark has done phenomenally well to run more than 800 miles pulling 18 stone. We’ve followed his progress all the way and we’re so grateful that he’s raised so much for us. He’s an inspirational fundraiser.”
Andrew Skelton, a director at SOS Group, said: “Everyone at SOS Group is extremely glad Mark’s back safe and well. We’re very proud to support his Run Around the World and to help raise funds for a charity we know is close to the hearts of many people.
“Mark’s dedication is remarkable and we’re thrilled that he’s completed another stage successfully.”
Anyone still wishing to donate can do so via http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun