Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Meet the support team - Carlton

It's time to continue the series of blog posts where I introduce the Benfield Australia Run support team to the readers of rungeordierun.com. I've already talked about Graham who I believe I stand the best chance of getting a flying start to the run with and it is for that reason he is first on the support rota. Next up was Jason who is a very talented physio and joins the team with a very good reputation. He is young and keen and is ideally placed as the second person on the support rota. I'll have the luxury of a full 3 weeks of treatment from Jason and we will cross the Nullarbor region of Australia while he is on the tour.

Ladies and gents, without further adieu, may I present to you, *drum roll* Carlton (pictured below at the start of his support team duties in the USA).

Carlton is a work colleague and is no stranger to supporting my events. He was last seen on the final crucial leg of the run across the USA. Carlton will join the tour on day 31 in Penong, South Australia at the 1148 mile point. Carlton's first day will be Jason's last day. 8 days and 328 miles later Dave and Ian (who I'll write about next week) will join Carlton. The 3 of them will be on the tour together for a further 6 days. That  period of the Benfield Australia Run is critical and to have that particular configuration of the team will give me an excellent chance of reaching mile 1675 in Adelaide on time on day 45. It may arguably turn out to be one of the most important 6 days of the entire run. For numerous reasons, it's so important that I'm in Adelaide on time. There is the small matter of another changeover of support team but I also hope to be doing a few school visits. Anyway, lets not get too far ahead of things for now. This post is to introduce Carlton to the readers of my blog.

I believe that each team member brings their own unique talents to the Benfield Australia Run and Carlton is no exception. To say that Carlton has a unique approach to support duties is an understatement! His methods have worked very well in the past. Of that there it little doubt. We got to New York on time, for instance, after overcoming a deficit of 160 miles during the final 2 weeks of the run across the USA. His wicked sense of humour together with the team spirit he can drum up when the chips are down are second to none. He is not afraid to get his hands dirty as you can see from the picture below. That was taken when Carlton emptied the RV sewerage tank for the first time in the USA. Not doing that particular task is one of the perks of running 41 miles per day!

I asked Carlton to tell the readers a bit about himself and his previous involvement with my running. This is what he wrote: "My name is Carlton Fletcher and I was part of the Run Geordie Run Support Team across America and I am here again to support Mark once more. I doubt very much that Austria will present anything like as much of a challenge though. 

My time in the USA was an incredible experience from start to finish. There were so many memories; from the police pepper spray attack at the greyhound station when I arrived, showering outdoors in a thunderstorm, the "incident that we don't talk about" or the time I nearly killed us both on the way back to the RV drop off centre just after the run finished. Happy memories.

There were some real lows and things I didn't tell Mark about for fear of affecting his morale. The one thing that I told my wife and family when I got back home was "Don't ever let me do anything like that again". But there were some great time too. The camaraderie; the games we invented and played whilst out running; the way Mark would throw a rock into the bushes when it got dark to make me jump; carrying 4 litres of water up hill for 5 miles on days when Mark wasn't that thirsty. Ah, happy days! And I genuinely feel like I contributed to his success. I know I helped pull him around from being 160 miles behind schedule when I arrived, to completing his challenge 2 weeks later (albeit after a monumental ultra marathon last day). 

In the USA, I organised sponsored meal times, and more popularly, sponsored waste dumping and underwear washes. This time I have come up with something different to try and raise a little extra sponsor money and keep Mark motivated. He will just have to wait and see what it is. 

You can follow my lows and, erm, lows, hopefully peppered with a bit of humour on Twitter  @carltonf46. I will do my best to make sure that when I leave Mark in the care of David and Ian, he'll still be on target for yet another incredible achievement.".

Thank you Carlton for those "kind" words. As Carlton mentioned, you can follow him on Twitter (@carltonf46) where he will be giving his own view of things in the build up and during the run itself.

I'll talk soon about the remaining members of the team; Dave, Ian and Donna.