North East family owned motor group Benfield Motor Group were recently announced as the headline sponsors for the up and coming run across Australia. The announcement was greeted with great personal relief and ensures that the run can now go ahead in a much safer manner than was previously possible. i.e. I now have the finances in place to pay for the RV motor home that will house and support myself and the team for 70 days.
I've been a social media ambassador for the company for 18 months and I'm so pleased that we have been able to take that particular relationship much further. With immediate effect Benfield will headline the current main sponsorship group of Brooks, Cherry Active, Chapman Ventilation, Identicom, Sport Newcastle and Virgin Money.
As part of the headline sponsorship arrangement, my 2600 mile effort down under will now be known as Run Geordie Run Down Under with ... Benfield. The very snazzy logo for the run (below) will be seen on my blog, Facebook page, Twitter etc.
There was a short and informal ceremony on the Beach on the Quayside this afternoon. Benfield, most fittingly, asked Liz Luff from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Libby Nolan from The Children's Foundation (both pictured below) to present me with the shirt that I'll be wearing during the Benfield Australia Run.
It might seem like just a running shirt but I've got to say that, as soon as I put it on, I really started to feel like that athlete who finished the run across the USA in 2011. I started to feel like Run Geordie Run again. It must have been how Clark Kent felt in Superman II when he regained his powers and became Superman again. I'm waffling there, but you get the general idea I'm sure!
That running shirt is going to make a quite incredible journey over the next few months. More than anyone will ever know, I'm looking forward to it coming full circle and presenting the shirt back to Benfield once the run is over. The Benfield motto is "Enjoy the journey". If this shirt isn't something that isn't going to do exactly that then I don't know what is.
As an aside, I should point out that Benfield's Facebook and Twitter pages run a free weekly online competition called Enjoy Rewards. They are well worth checking out and only take seconds to enter. I've noticed that some of my own social media followers have been lucky enough to win such things as annual passes to Alnwick Gardens, full car valets, tickets for Newcastle Falcons matches and I myself won tickets to the recent Athletics at Gateshead Stadium whose lineup including Mo Farah!
Thank you once again to Benfield and all of my other main sponsors for giving me the best possible chance of success in Australia. It's now down to me to do them, The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children's Foundation proud. Running 2600 miles in 70 days with a fundraising target of £50,000 is going to be incredibly difficult. As ever, I will leave absolutely no ounce of energy in my body before I achieve success for the 2 charities as "Run Geordie Run Down Under ... with Benfield"