Tyne & Wear

Charity runner Mark Allison sets off across Australian outback

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Media captionThe 42-year-old will run for 41 miles every day for 70 days

Charity runner Mark Allison, known as Run Geordie Run, has begun his latest challenge to run 2,600 miles across the Australian outback.

The 42-year-old has left Perth and will run for 41 miles every day, for 70 days, until he reaches Sydney.

The 14st engineer said he was not as trim as he wanted to be, but added he was still confident he would finish.

In 2011, he ran 3,100 miles across America and said he cannot feel parts of his feet because of damaged nerves.

'Pretty remote'

His gruelling 100-day America challenge raised £100,000 for charity, but this time he hopes to raise £50,000 for the Children's Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

He said: "Training hasn't been great this time, as I've spent a lot of time planning the run and seeking sponsors, and my day job gets in the way.

"But I'm confident of completing the run although it will be hard - the heat is incredible and I will probably lose about four-and-a-half stone."

Once more the motivation for Mr Allison is raising money for charity and honouring the memories of loved ones - his mother, who died in 1995, his father Terry, who died of cancer in 1988, and his brother David, who died from a brain haemorrhage in 1998.

He hopes to end the latest challenge by running into the Pacific Ocean at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Christmas Eve.

He added: "It's no good just running across Australia - you've got to take people with you via Facebook and Twitter and my website.

Image caption Mr Allison (left) is heavier than he would like to be at 14st, but is confident he will get across Australia

"I'm going to be in some pretty remote places so getting signals and letting people know of my progress is a big worry.

'Mental battle'

"It is also the monotony of running day-in, day-out with the same surroundings - in the outback it can get very similar.

"For example I'll be on the Eyre Highway in a place called Norseman running to Port Augusta - that will be 1,000 miles of the same desolate road.

"So it will be a real mental battle as well as a physical one."

Mr Allison and his team of four will be staying in a motor home during the challenge.

Every morning he plans to have two bowls of porridge before running more than eight hours, occasionally stopping for meals and snacking on energy bars.

Carlton Fletcher, who is one of his support team, said: "It is hard to appreciate how hard a task this will be.

"It's like doing the Great North Run, then finishing it and doing it two more times.

"Then getting up the next day and doing it again and again for 70 days."

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