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Round-the-world challenge total runs into PS250k.

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@ncjmedia.com

SPEEDY Mark Allison is storming through the latest stage of his around-the-world challenge and this week passed the PS250,000 fundraising mark.

Nicknamed Run Geordie Run, the endurance runner from Newcastle is currently making his way through Europe on a mission to raise money for local charities.

He was fully prepared for a tough time - but he wasn't expecting to run into further hiccups along the way.

Just nine days into the Europe leg of his world challenge, the 44-yearold has faced rain, lost luggage, navigational errors, road closures and, finally, a flat tyre on the support vehicle which meant a two-hour walk before he even got to the start line.

But one special message has managed to bring a smile to his face.

The current 3,400 miles and covers Having already received a boost from one football legend, when Jack Charlton wished him well, Mark has just received a good luck message from the sons of another.

punishing including to more His run through 14 European countries is raising money for 9,000ft in Italian the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer charity and he was delighted to receive a humorous video message from Sir Bobby's sons praising his efforts so far in the mammoth challenge he has set himself. In it they told him: "We know our father would be very proud of your efforts."

Out to run 20,000 miles around the world, in stages, Mark has already covered the length of the UK and hotfooted it across the US and Australia.

leg is long terrain, The current Europe leg is 3,400 miles long and covers some punishing terrain, including a climb to more than 9,000ft through the Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps, but he is keeping up a cracking pace.

a climb than the The dad-of-one initially started out fundraising as a way of saying thank you to a local hospice which cared for his late mother and he hasn't really stopped since.

He started his world challenge in 2007 and he hit his PS250,000 total raised for good causes just 10 days into the Europe leg, which is also raising money for The Children's Foundation.

Having set out from Lisbon in Portugal on May 1, he was by then just two weeks from the Pyrenees and is now already in Spain.

Accompanied by a road support team of volunteers, he is on track to finish in Turkey's capital Istanbul on August 6, when no doubt he will be looking forward to returning home for a well-earned rest.

Mark, who packs his training into his spare time from his job as a software developer, won't have to worry about his next long run for some time yet.

Turkey, Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan come next on the schedule in 2018 then it will be China in 2020, to be followed by Japan in 2021 and finally New Zealand in 2022, by which time he will have covered 23 countries in four continents, making a compressed total of a year and 243 days of solid running. Anyone wanting to donate to his chosen charities can visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun

The current leg is 3,400 miles long and covers punishing terrain, including a climb to more than 9,000ft in the Italian Alps

CAPTION(S):

<BJack Charlton got behind Mark's 20,000-mile challenge

<BMark Allison getting ready to take on Europe on a beach near Lisbon

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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 12, 2016
Words:581
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