A CHARITY champion says he couldn’t be more prepared ahead of a mammoth challenge this weekend which will see him run to all four North East football clubs.
Hartlepool United fanatic Paul Smith - who is no stranger to running having been out on the roads every day since January 1, 2007 - is taking on the epic 65-mile stadium run this Saturday, December 21.
The 50-year-old, from Sherburn Hill, in Durham, will run from Newcastle United’s St James’s Park at midnight to the Stadium of Light, in Sunderland, before heading down the A19 to his beloved Victoria Park.
He will then leave The Vic and run to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium before turning round and running back to Pools in time for the 3pm kick-off against Burton Albion.
Paul, who has never run as far before in one go, is raising money for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Finlay Cooper Fund.
So far he has raised more than £1,500 but he is hoping to raise as much as possible.
Paul said: “I have never run 65 miles in one go before but I’m confident I’ll be able to.
“The thought of raising money for such great causes will spur me on and inspire me along the way.
“I couldn’t be more prepared for this challenge really and mentally I will be thinking of it as separate runs, rather than 65 miles in one go.
“As well as running every day, I have also completed 105 laps of an athletics track and also completed 90 laps at Newcastle Racecourse.
“I haven’t missed a day’s running in seven years so there hasn’t been any rest days ahead of the weekend,” added Paul, who has been using the facilities at Hartlepool College of Further Education’s Luminary Fitness Suite.
Paul thanked everybody who has already donated money and said he has been inspired by the comments he has received from well-wishers in person and via social media through Facebook and Twitter.
He added: “People’s generosity and kind words have been really overwhelming and inspirational.”
The Finlay Cooper Fund, named in memory of Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper’s tragic son, who died aged two after a choking accident, raises cash for children’s charities.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation supports the early detection and treatment of cancer.
To sponsor Paul, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/LordSmythe1908 and you can follow his progress on Twitter via @LordSmythe.