THE finishing line is in sight for a South Tyneside charity champion tackling an epic 40 marathons in as many days – with a fridge on his back!
Tony ‘The Fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison will complete a remarkable 1,009-mile trek from John O’ Groats to Land’s End in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation (SBRF) on Thursday morning.
The super-fit 49-year-old grandfather, from Hebburn, has enjoyed a memorable marathon mission, travelling the open roads of Scotland, an emotional homecoming in Newcastle and taking in Yorkshire and the Midlands on his way south.
Tony has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the SBRF through a series of punishing challenges including 30 half-marathons in 30 days and running for 24 hours, all with the domestic appliance on his back.
His gruelling efforts have taken their toll and he admits his fridge-carrying days may soon be behind him.
But Tony will have his trusty domestic appliance with him at the Great North Run this Sunday.
He said: “Finishing will be a huge weight off my shoulders.
“I’m an adventurer. You just start thinking: what is the next challenge?
“The main thing I will take from the challenge is that I am immensely proud to be British because I’ve had fantastic generosity and support from people both in Scotland and England.
“The sense of community has been totally amazing.
“If you are doing good, then people will do all they can to help you.”
Tony admits there were times he didn’t think he would be able to complete his challenge as he battled injuries, but a chance encounter with a North-East physiotherapist put him back on track.
Tony had been running through Ponteland when a lady asked him if he needed any water. When he replied he needed a physio, she pointed to her next-door neighbour, Gavin Cree.
Tony added: “It’s down to Gavin that I have got this far. He was like my guardian angel. He popped my pelvis back in place.
“When I was in London and in excruciating pain, he came out again with his wife and helped me again. He did it all for free. He would not accept any payment.
“There have been a few miracles during the journey. One was the sense of community I encountered, and meeting Gavin was another.”
Tony is due to reach Land’s End at about 10.30am on Thursday.
You can follow Tony’s progress live via www.tonythefridge.com and on Twitter through @tony_the_fridge.
If you would like to donate, visit the Justgiving site http://www.justgiving.com/tonythefridge. You can also donate by texting ‘FRID93 £5’ to 70070.