10 Aug

New York Joy For Mark

Mark Allison

Mark Allison completed his gruelling 100 day journey across the USA with a barn-storming final day to reach New York in the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday, August 9). Mark had travelling through 13 states, running a total of 3,100 miles. The 39-year-old Geordie, who started his journey at the beginning of May from Huntington Beach, California, arrived at the pier of Coney Island, New York.

The distance, which is the equivalent of 236 Great North Runs, saw Mark jog through such states as Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, and New York. On the 96th day, Mark still had over 185 miles to run to complete his journey in the required time. In the final two days, Mark ran a staggering 96 miles as he travelled from Philipsburg to Southern Brooklyn.

Prior to completing the final stretch, Mark reflected: "Just 90 miles left, now I know how Forrest Gump must have felt." On his determination to finish within the 100-day mark he added, "I'm doing everything that is humanly possible to get there on time. I'm almost guaranteed to make it across the USA. That is not enough. Getting there within 100 days is so important to me personally."

Mark's trans-stateside achievement didn't come without numerous, and unexpected, challenges. The early stages saw Mark run in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, causing crippling blisters. The journey also saw the Geordie encounter fierce thunderstorms, flooded roads, mosquito - and canine - attacks. All this interspersed with a police escort over the Pony Express Bridge out of Kansas and into Missouri.

At times Mark was averaging an intake of over 1.5 litres of water per hour, with the addition of a Nuun tablet, to make it through the sweltering conditions. Following a schedule of an intensive 30 miles per day, Mark has lost around 31kg (5 stone) since setting off at the beginning of May.

The enormity of Mark's feat has been recognised by donations that have exceeded £61,000, far surpassing the original £50,000 amount he was hoping to raise for St. Benedict's Hospice and the Children's Foundation. In 2007, Mark ran from John O'Groats to Lands End in 37 days, covering a distance of 874 miles and raising a further £34,000 for St. Benedict's Hospice.

If you would like to read an in-depth account of Mark's 100-day journey across America and see some great photographs of his adventure, visit his RunGeordieRun blog.