The 49-year-old granddad has undertaken some incredibly punishing running challenges for the charity – including running 30 half marathons over 30 consecutive days and running for 24 hours – all whilst carrying an enormous fridge.
Tony’s ‘fridge-running’ has captured the imagination of thousands but he knows it is not something he can continue to put his body through and this weekend he is beginning his last major challenge.
On Saturday (3rd August) at 6am, Tony will begin The Smeg John O’Groats to Land’s End Endurance Challenge. He will be attempting to run 40 marathons, in 40 consecutive days, and carrying a 42.5kg Smeg fridge every step of the way.
(Please watch this short film http://vimeo.com/70872587).
Tony says: “Carrying the fridge is hard and I know I need to draw a line under things. In my head, I’ve had a few ideas about overseas challenges but nothing concrete and I know I need to stop before I damage myself.
“This will definitely be my last big fridge run in this country and I wanted to make it something special. To really challenge myself. And there’s no doubt this run will do that.
“It’s going to be much harder than anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’m not the slightest bit afraid but I am very wary. Some of the roads and the hills, mountains in some cases, will be brutal.”
Tony will be starting early each day and running for around seven hours. The start of his route will take him from John O’Groats, heading south towards Inverness, then across the Cairngorms into Edinburgh, tackling ascents of 1,500 ft along the way.
From here, he will run south east along the A68 to his hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne and then continue south, passing through York and on to Nottingham.
After Leicester, he will hit Milton Keynes before arriving in London. He will then run south west for the final leg of the journey, reaching the south coast at Southampton, before following the coast line westerly past Exeter and on to Land’s End.
In total, Tony will be running 1,053 miles and he concedes that The Smeg John 0’Groats to Land’s End Endurance Challenge may literally be ‘A Fridge too Far.’
Tony adds: “I’ve never actually run two back-to-back marathons with a fridge, let alone 40. But my awareness and fund-raising campaign is all about tackling what is thought to be impossible and making it to the other side.
“I’m lucky because I know I can take my fridge off. But if you have cancer you can’t do that. It’s a burden you’re forced to carry and keep going.
“Cancer can beat you to your knees. My efforts are a tribute to all those people who have to fight cancer every day. And by fund-raising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, I feel like I’m doing something practical and positive to help.”
Tony has received tremendous support for his latest challenge and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patron and Middlesbrough FC chairman, Steve Gibson, even arranged for him to use the club’s training facilities at Rockliffe.
He also has a generous headline sponsor in Smeg, the premium domestic appliance brand, who have made this challenge possible.
In addition, Smeg is the supplier of Tony’s bright orange FAB10 fridge, which weighs in at a staggering 42.5kg (equivalent to combined weight of 40 litres of water or 40 house bricks).
John Davies, Brand Manager for Smeg UK, comments: “As an organisation, Smeg has been affected directly and indirectly by the pain and sadness caused by cancer.
“As a family run business with a commitment to the local communities we serve, we felt strongly about helping in every way we can to join in to combat this disease.
“We truly believe in the extraordinary fund-raising efforts of Tony the Fridge in aid of the Bobby Robson Foundation, to help find better ways to detect and treat cancer. We’re behind Tony every single step of the way as our national charity of the year 2013.”
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.
Please follow Tony’s progress live via via www.tonythefridge.com and on Twitter through @tony_the_fridge.
If you would like to donate, please visit Tony’s Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Justgiving site http://www.justgiving.com/tonythefridge. You can also donate by texting ‘FRID93 £5’ to 70070.