A congregational member of St John the Baptist, Kirkheaton, has pledged to run a mammoth 5,000 miles over the next five years in aid of Kirkwood Hospice.
Andy Wright will run an average of more than 80 miles each month over the 60 month period –equivalent to the distance between Kirkwood Hospice and the Grand Canyon!
He is hoping to raise £25,000 over the five years and will begin his challenge with the Yorkshire Marathon in York on the 11th October, which will be the first 26.2 miles of his pledged 5,000.
Andy says, “I work full time, I’m 48 years old (I’ll be nearly 54 when this challenge is over), and I have a wife and two teenage daughters.
“Even though life is busy, I’m pledging to run an average of 20 miles per week for the next five years to help raise vital funds for my local Hospice.”
Kirkwood is a Hospice for those with life threatening illnesses in the Kirklees, Batley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Holmfirth and Mirfield, while also providing services for those with life limiting illnesses, and has provided care for over 20,000 people since it opened in 1987.
The Hospice is heavily reliant on the generosity of local residents for their funding and this year will need in excess of £5.5 million to continue providing their incredible services, so Andy’s contribution will provide vital support for their funds.
He says, “I’ve witnessed first-hand the amazing work the staff at Kirklees Hospice do –it really is the most incredible place!
“You have to be a particular kind of person to work in that kind of an environment, and I know that I am not that kind of person.
“However, I want to do what I can to support the people who are, and what I can do is run.”
The Revd Richard Steel, Rector of Kirkheaton, says “What Andy is doing makes 'Marathon effort' sound small scale!”
Andy has created a new donation programme for the Hospice called Andy’s Friends of Kirkwood Hospice which encourages people to make a small monthly donation across the five years.
Andy mentions, “It’s fantastic when people run a marathon, a half marathon, or a 10K to raise money for a charity.
“What a lot of people don’t realise though is that the real hard work isn’t done on the day of the race, it’s done in the weeks and even months leading up to the race.
“I want people to sponsor me for five years of hard work.”
Andy continues, “I will be doing one off races like the Yorkshire Marathon. Those will be exciting events which I’m very much looking forward to, but I’m asking people to sponsor me not for the headline events, but for the hard work in-between.
“Sponsor me for the time when I come home on a wet horrible Tuesday night in November after a hard day at work and run eight miles before tea.
“Sponsor me for getting up at 6:30am on a Saturday morning and doing a quick 12 miles before I taxi the kids here and there rather than have that lie-in.”
Andy adds, “Most charity organisations encourage this low level regular giving from individuals with an affinity to their specific charity.
“What I’m trying to do, which I think is my unique selling point, is that I’m combining this idea with the old style “sponsor me for running a marathon” idea.
“If you donate £1 per month, you will know that I’m running 83 miles for that £1 – every single month for five years.
“I’m trying, in my own small way, to revolutionise, or at least introduce a new angle, to the concept of charitable giving.”
Andy is also hoping to publicise his venture through social media and has set up a Facebook and Twitter account as well as promising to start a blog to keep people updated on his progress (details at the bottom of the article).
For this challenge, Andy has trained since Christmas and has already racked up 800 miles, but he isn’t counting this towards his overall goal.
“I've been incredibly lucky with staying injury free,” he said. “I've been running since 2010 when I decided to train for a marathon primarily as a way of losing some weight, and I haven't had a significant injury since then.
“I am fairly late coming to the sport - I have run on and off occasionally for the last 30 years but only consistently relatively recently.
“I tell people that although I'm 48 I have the knees and hips of a 25 year old! I'm confident they can get me through the next 5 years!”
Andy continues, “I'm now a member of a local running club, Roberttown Road Runners, and they've helped me become a better and more educated runner.
“I also do my local park run and a weekly free timed 5K run which attracts about 600 runners.
“When I run on my own I listen to music, that helps to motivate and inspire me – I listen to everything from classical (Mahler and Bruckner) to soundtracks (Matilda, Mary Poppins), and from Christian stuff (Delirious, Jars of Clay) to alternative rock (Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie).”
To become one of Andy’s Friends of Kirkwood Hospice, Download a Donation Form Here.
He also has a Just Giving page for one off donations: www.justgiving.com/andy5000/
Andy is trying to publicise his efforts as much as possible through social media so has a Facebook page, called Kirkwood 5,000: https://www.facebook.com/Kirkwood5000?fref=ts
He also has a Twitter account - @andy5000miles (he is aiming for 5,000 Twitter followers by Christmas!): https://twitter.com/search?q=andy5000miles&src=typd
Andy will also soon begin writing a blog, details of which will soon be available through his Twitter account.
To find out more information on the Kirkwood Hospice, please visit their website: http://www.kirkwoodhospice.co.uk/