A Nottingham businessman who only started his training in March is getting ready to undertake his fourth half marathon in four months in aid of a city hospice.
Andy Middleton, from Gedling, is now on the last lap of his half marathon challenge after agreeing to run a combined distance of 52.4 miles for Nottinghamshire Hospice in Woodborough Road.
The 47-year-old completed his third race, the Newark Half Marathon, on August 12 and is now in training for the Ikano Bank Robin Hood Half Marathon, which takes place around Nottingham’s streets on September 30.
Andy, who is taking on the challenge alongside Katie Sutton, an account manager at his design, print and marketing firm, Ginger Root, began with the Market Bosworth Half Marathon in May, after he started running just two months earlier.
He then took part in and completed the Market Harborough Half Marathon in June, which set him up for the race in Newark.
However, the race didn’t quite go to plan, with an injury twinge on the fourth mile threatening to force him to pull out. Instead, he gritted his teeth and pressed on, eventually crossing the line in a time of two hours and 55 mins.
It was much slower than he wanted but Andy says that although the experiences, and the other two races, have been harder than he thought, the sense of achievement and the people he has met along the way has made every painful step worth the effort.
And, with places for the Robin Hood Half Marathon still available, Andy, who is aiming to raise £1,000, is encouraging more runners to pound the streets in aid of the hospice, which cares for adults in the city and county with cancer and other life-limiting or terminal illnesses, as well as supporting their families and carers.
Katie, meanwhile, is raising funds for the adoption charity Faith in Families.
Andy said: “I used to be fairly fit when I was younger and did plenty of running, as well as sports like kick-boxing, so when I agreed to do the challenge, I fooled myself into thinking that my body was as fit and able as it was back then.
“On my first training run I had to stop for a rest at the end of my road, which was when I realised that it was going to be a lot harder than I’d anticipated, and I’ve had to dig deep in order to complete the races.
“It’s been wonderful though. My grandmother worked in a hospice and it’s such a wonderful cause, while I’ve lost a lot of weight and discovered the social side to running.
“Katie has completed all of the races too and we’re looking forward to the Robin Hood Half Marathon. It won’t be easy but I would certainly recommend it. You learn a lot about what you are capable of, and the sense of achievement when you cross the finish line is incredible.”
Nottinghamshire Hospice is now on the lookout for more people to take part in the race and raise funds on its behalf, helping it to raise the £2.7m it needs to keep operating every year.
Sarah Dunning, corporate fundraiser at Nottinghamshire Hospice, said: “Andy has proved that you don’t have to be a superhuman athlete to undertake a personal challenge, you just need a sense of dedication and the determination to keep going.
“His story is so typical of our charity challengers, who want to do something different, daunting or demanding and use the opportunity to raise money on our behalf, which allows us to continue the vitally important work that we do.”
The hospice wants to raise £30,000 through its Charity Challenges programme this year and to find out more about how you can help, contact the fundraising team on 0115 910 1008, email: email@example.com or go to: www.nottshospice.org/challenges.