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George Caulkin

10 years of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

Total raised so far £0.00

Target £0.00

Total plus Gift Aid: £0.00

Raised offline: £0.00

My story

[p]2018 marks the 10th birthday of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I’m going to (try to ) run at least 10 events in Bobby’s memory; 10 runs for 10 years, including the London Marathon, the Paris Marathon, the Great North Run, the Big Half, the Great Manchester Run, the Northumberland Coastal Run, the Kielder Half Marathon and - the big one - the New York Marathon. There will be proof (mainly pictures of me crying, I suspect), on my Twitter account @CaulkinTheTimes. This page is to cover all those events. Any sponsorship is hugely appreciated, thank you.[/p][p]During the last decade countless people have become members of what Sir Bobby called “his last and greatest team,” raising more than £12m to help fund cancer research and treatment projects across the north east and Cumbria, through the NHS. It’s a brilliant charity. We have no permanent members of staff and no professional fundraisers, relying completely on volunteers and incredible generosity. Nothing makes me happier in this world than being a patron of the Foundation.[/p][p]From a young age, Bobby was a hero of mine (I followed him to Langley Park Infants School). I was writing for The Times as their north east football man when he came home to Newcastle United. He wrote a column for the paper which I ghosted for him and I helped him with his final book, about Newcastle the club and city. So he went from being a hero to a colleague to a mentor and finally, a friend. Like many people who knew and loved him, I was desperate to make him proud. [/p][p]The day after he died, I wrote about Sir Bobby and what he meant to me for The Times. That piece is reproduced here. [url=http://sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/the-bobby-robson-i-knew-and-loved/]http://sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/the-bobby-robson-i-knew-and-loved/[/url][/p][p]And this is something on Sir Bobby’s legacy, written for the Foundation’s website: [url=http://sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/sir-bobbys-legacy/]http://sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk/sir-bobbys-legacy/[/url] [/p][p]Bobby had cancer five times. In spite of that, he was always an optimist - in terms of a cure, he always talked about when rather than if. With the help of his greatest team, every day Bobby’s ‘when’ comes that little bit closer. Thank you for your support. George. X[/p][p]*****[/p][p]* I completed the Big Half on Sunday March 4. This page was active then but beyond sponsoring myself I hadn’t done anything about it. I tore my calf last October, had to start all over again and didn’t want to commit to this challenge unless I had a decent chance of success. It was a gorgeous day in London after a week of snow, I set off like a lunatic and struggled from the third mile onwards! A painful but valuable lesson. Got round in 1hr 50.45 which was fine for a marathon training run, but the second half was very slow. On to Paris! [/p][p]** Paris Marathon. Well ... that didn’t go well. That didn’t go well at all. The first half was perfect - steady pace (unlike above), rehydrated well, Paris looked gorgeous - but it disintegrated very quickly after that. Perhaps it was the heat, perhaps I had a little bug, but I cramped up in both calves, upper and lower thighs, I was sick, I wobbled and I stumbled and I walked a lot towards the end (the photo split into four segments tells the story of my day!). In those moments, the mind can be very cruel; I was a failure, I was letting people down, I was letting Bobby down, I was letting you down. There was no way I could do this, no way I can go on to do London. I finished 30 minutes slower than last year - I couldn’t run further than a couple of hundred metres at a time without seizing up and mentally that was very difficult to deal with - but I did finish and when I got to the end, I looked at this page and was blown away by all the sponsorship. Thank you so much. I staggered to the Metro wearing my medal. I sat down on the train and cried and cried and cried to myself. A marathon tests you in ways that, in my case, I haven’t been tested before. It can take you to some dark places, but it gives euphoria and an incredible sense of achievement, too. When I stood up for my Metro stop a little boy said to his mam, “look, he won the gold!”. I did. We all did, however quickly or slowly we ran. That set me off all over again. [/p][p]*** London Marathon. Wow. That. Was. Hot. But Paris is now banished. I loved it on Sunday - sort of. I loved the experience, the atmosphere, the wonderful, supportive crowds, the incredible volunteers. I loved London and its people. I love that I took the pressure off myself and forgot about going for a time, accepted the conditions, made it my mission to smile as much as possible and learnt from what I’d been through two weeks earlier. I was cheered on every step of the way. I dedicated my run to Lee Hope and his family and friends and I took inspiration from them. Lee was diagnosed with bowel cancer two years ago; nine weeks later, he passed away. Scott, Amy and the rest have been huge supporters of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. In spirit, they pulled me round on Sunday. They made me think about suffering and sacrifice and put it in perspective. A marathon takes your body and mind to places you can’t imagine, but that perspective is important. In the final few miles, it got me through. Thank you to them, to London and for all the wonderful donations. [/p][p]**** Sunderland City Half Marathon, Sunday May 13. Crammed 13 miles between Middlesbrough’s game the night before and Newcastle later that day. I was a bit sweaty at St James’ Park, still wearing my finisher’s shirt and my medal! I ran this with Yvonne, a friend, who pushed me round at just under 8 minute mile piece, which I was amazed with - haven’t done any pace running - and I finished in 1.42:53. Very happy. It was cool with lots of hills and not many people on the streets, which represented a different sort of challenge. Still felt the spirit of London though. On to Manchester next weekend![/p][p]***** Great Manchester Run Sunday May 20. Today I thought about Liam Curry and Chloe Rutherford, 12 months on from the Manchester Arena bombing. Liam raised funds for Sir Bobby at the age of 14 when his grandad was diagnosed with cancer. He carried on fundraising when Andrew, his dad, was also diagnosed. As the Foundation put it, Liam was “an outstanding young man.” Caroline, his mam, asked that I ran “in celebration of Liam’s life,” and I did, running for Liam and Chloe and smiling on the way. What an emotional day and what another baking run. Two half marathons in the space of a week didn’t feel too bad and I enjoyed snaking around both Manchester football stadiums. Very pleased with my time of 1.40.27, but look at my grimace at the end. That was tough![/p][p]****** The Blaydon Race, ‘twas on the 9th of June (obviously). I love this race and I love this celebration of Newcastle, the city and its traditions. Today felt much bigger as an occasion and (a theme of this year), it was very hot again. I like starting near the back and soaking up the atmosphere and then trying to pick up the pace as I go along. This will be the shortest run of the year all being well. Tomorrow I’m off to Russia! [/p][p]******* Northumberland Coastal Run, Sunday July 29. 14 miles from Beadnell down to Alnmouth, across beaches and tide pools, along dunes, roads and coastal paths. Sounds idyllic, but today was brutal! Gale force winds and driving rain into the face. Setting off was a real spectacle, 1000 people spread across the beach, but your feet are soaking within a few hundred metres, it was impossible to look up and I felt my knee go after about 9 miles. I still had some energy at the end, but that was really hard. One of the toughest runs I’ve done. Lovely camaraderie en route and nice support from walkers and volunteers. And we’re over £3000 now which is amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who donated today and had already done so. I’m sore and damp but very pleased. Only three more to go! [/p][p]******** The Great North Run, September 9. This is my favourite day of the year, bar none; a day of community, shared experience, a showcase for the north east and a chance to spend time with the brilliant people who raise money for the Foundation. I wouldn’t swap those sweaty, emotional, sad, funny hours in the charity village afterwards for anything. If I could live this day again, though, I’d be less of an idiot at the start and I’d slow down. The GNR sweeps me away every year and I set off like a lunatic, far too quickly. Yet again, I suffered for it. Three miles in and I knew I wouldn’t get it back. Look at my face at the end! I always try to sprint but I was completely out of it. This year I desperately needed the jelly babies and the ice pops, the cheers and the support. I finished in 1.45 or so, considerably slower than my two halves in May, although given the constant problems I’m having with my calf and the opposite knee now, the difficulty of training and the lack of pace work, I can’t be dispirited. The finish line is in sight.[/p][p]********* Kielder Half Marathon, October 7. GOUT! I’ve been diagnosed with gout. I can’t believe it. I’m devastated. After a 10 mile run at the end of September the joint at the base of my right big toe swells up overnight. The pain is so severe it wakes me up and I have to soak it in freezing water. Over the next few days it gets worse. Soon I can’t put any weight on it. I can’t have anything touching it. Is it broken? It’s bright red and huge and throbbing. Never known pain like it. I see my GP who is sure it’s gout. This feels ridiculous. I run, I eat healthily, I barely drink ... I can feel myself slipping towards anxiety. I don’t leave the house for four days. I’ve put too much pressure on myself. Every training run this year has had a purpose and I’ve lost the joy (I’ve had some joyful moments, but it has become about struggle), and it hurts every time I go out. Worse, I’m not going to be able to finish my challenge, am I? On Monday 1, I go on Twitter to unload and explain and I’m overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I get. There’s a surge in sponsorship. The strong anti-inflammatories I’m on make me feel woozy, but they kick in. And then on the Saturday, I drive across to Kielder, just to watch the 10k, to stand at the finish line and roar on strangers. I find it incredibly moving to be on this side of the road for once and very inspiring, too. So the next day ... I go back with my gear and I take a risk. I did it! I did the half! Nine days after not being able to walk, I got through the most scenic run, up and down the forests of Kielder, beside the reservoir. This time my pace is sensible (it had to be) and constant and aside from a touch of cramp after 8 or 9 miles, I felt strong. I was quicker at the end. The implications of living with gout is something I’ll have to deal with, but it didn’t defeat me today. 1.46 is proof of that. Can I do New York? It’s the last one, so I know I can get through it, somehow. I just have to find a way of not letting this physical ache work it’s way into my brain. A few days later, I’m running in Dublin and I can feel my toe (which has changed shape and is still slightly swollen), my calf, my other knee, my left hamstring and it feels like my body is being broken down into its individual parts. I focus on each of them, one by one. The tears come. I’m running and sobbing. This is ridiculous. I turn onto the glorious beach at Portmarnock and Maximo Park’s Apply Some Pressure comes on through my headphones. “What do you do when you lose everything? You just start again. You start all over again.” I pick up my pace. [/p]
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Supporters

21-Nov-2018

Matt Jennings

09-Nov-2018

James Gheerbrant

Belated well done George - great effort!

£30.00 plus £7.50 Gift Aid

07-Nov-2018

Matt

Well done, George - Sir Bobby would be proud!

£15.00 plus £3.75 Gift Aid

06-Nov-2018

Chipperhay

Well done George! A fantastic cause.

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

05-Nov-2018

Anonymous

£15.00

05-Nov-2018

Anonymous

10 in 1 - you did it George! Big achievement

£100.00 plus £25.00 Gift Aid

04-Nov-2018

Glenn

Howay George!!!

£50.00 plus £12.50 Gift Aid

04-Nov-2018

Chris Waugh

You always do Sir Bobby & the whole of the North East proud, George. Well done again!

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid

04-Nov-2018

Anonymous

04-Nov-2018

Kerry Thompson

Amazing!!! Well done 👏👏👏

£10.00 plus £2.50 Gift Aid