At the start of this year one of our runners, Sally Heppenstall had the great idea of collecting people’s stories of how they became involved in our local running community

This was Andrews self written story in January this year:

My name is Andrew, I am 46. I might not have gone through the C25k group but had the pleasure of helping out and running with a lot of people who did.

I started running in Jan 2012. The reason was I wanted to run a marathon and  had always said I would only run London. I had tried a few attempts through the ballot without success, my mum then mentioned that Preston where doing a marathon as part of the Guild celebrations which would only be every 20 years, so I signed up for this in Dec 2011.

My first run was that Jan and I could only run 2 miles and I had to stop during that, so how was I going to manage a marathon that October. Luck would have it that Blackburn Road Runners had a open night the same month, so I went along. One of the first memories I had was my first run and eat when I was having to walk and Susan Wolstenholme, ran past on a run back and noticed my London marathon jacket (this was a jacket sent out to those who got a rejection place). She  suggested I should  join the running club, I then had to explain I had joined and I was knackered which why I was walking.

So with the help of a lot of BRR members I completed my first marathon after only 10 months running in just under 4hrs 30.

I have since gone on to run 7 marathons including 2 Londons, Preston, Manchester Chester and  Rivington trail. In 2014 only 2 years since I started running I took part in the Disney  Dopey Challenge. This involved running a 5k, 10k, half marathon and Marathon over 4 consecutive days.

I seem to have a good knack of pacing races 10k, 10 mile and half marathon, I have helped a number of C25k and BRR runners in achieving their own goals.

This is how Andrew became one of us, a Blackburn Road Runner. He was proud of us and we were extremely proud of him but he contributed much more than his own description suggests. He soon became a committee member, supporting and helping with all activities whenever he could including our annual 10k race, getting up before 5am to put out the signs- A job which few wanted to fill. He won best male improver in 2012. Only a few months ago he led a group of ladies, the appropriately named ‘ Boardettes’ to marathon success in Liverpool. He gave every one of them belief they could do it, trained with them weekly and paced them across the 26.2 mile finish line. To say they were grateful was an understatement.

Only a few weeks ago he had scaled Snowdon in a Half Marathon. He often liked to challenge himself and be different in what he entered.  He was inspired by local sporting heros like Brian Fogarty and Phil White. With the help of his personal trainer Mikey, he was the fittest he had ever been.  His running times had plummeted, he looked svelte and he was loving his new found success. He was in a great place. He loved racing and loved supporting others but he was undoubtedly one of the nicest, selfless and most genuine people any of us had the fortune to meet.  He didn’t judge others, he accepted all for who they were and as such everybody has their OWN happy story to tell about Andrew.  It was a privilege to have called him a true friend.