8 Aug 2020 Community
Andy reaches the summit in 5,000 mile challenge
After almost half a decade of early mornings, sore knees and bursting lungs, Andy Wright has achieved his goal of running 5,000 miles for Kirkwood Hospice. But it’s not the end for the Mirfield man – who will continue to pound the pavements until he reaches the five year anniversary of his very first mile.
In 2015, Andy Wright set out on a five year challenge to run 5,000 miles. His goal? To raise thousands of pounds for a local cause close to his heart, and to raise awareness about their services.
As he reached the summit of Castle Hill on Saturday morning, Andy completed his 5,000th mile for Kirkwood Hospice. For the Library Development Manager from Mirfield, it was a sweet moment. An end to five years of sweat, injuries, personal sacrifice and managing a mile-counting spreadsheet. But also the culmination of half a decade spent making new friends, pushing himself further than he thought possible and rallying people to his cause.
Andy Wright celebrates completing his 5,000th mile.
It started as a way to keep motivated as Andy approached his 50th Birthday. After discovering running 10 years ago, Andy realised just how much it helped his mental and physical health.
Andy said: “Taking on this challenge was a way of taking some responsibility for ensuring I kept at it. 1,000 miles per year averages out at just under 20 miles per week, I knew that was manageable as long as I stayed motivated, and setting myself up for this challenge.”
His idea blossomed, and in just five years, Andy has raised almost £10,000 for Kirkwood Hospice through a combination of a regular sponsorships and one off donations.
Despite the incredible achievement, the challenge of running 5,000 miles in five years has been about so much more than simply raising funds. As the proud husband of Kirkwood Physiotherapist, Lisa, he has been inspired to raise much needed awareness about Kirkwood and its ambitions to support anyone affected by a life limiting illness across Kirklees, every step of the way.
Andy said: “I’m proud to be associated with Kirkwood, an organisation which provides incredible compassionate support to families across Kirklees in their times of greatest need.
“I’ve learned so much about their work in encouraging their patients to live well, and as a resident of North Kirklees I’m particularly keen to ensure that information about the services provided by Kirkwood reach those more underrepresented sections of the district.”
Over the past five years, Andy has taken on a variety of running challenges. He’s participated in 149 Park Runs, completed more than 80 half-marathons, taken part in the biggest cross-country race in the world – the 30K Lidingoloppet in Stockholm – and run five marathons.
Besides taking part in well-established races and fun-runs, 53-year-old Andy also came up with some unique ways to raise Kirkwood’s profile through his running.
In 2017, inspired by Kirkwood’s 30th Anniversary celebrations, Andy ran 30 miles in a single day – devising a route for his run that saw him pass each of Kirkwood’s charity shops across Kirklees.
Fellow runners and members of the Kirkwood team joined Andy for his 5,000th mile.
And just last year, he created and took on the Huddersfield Monopoly Marathon. Battling harsh winds and driving rain, Andy made flying visits to every square featured on the recently released Huddersfield edition of the world famous board game – including Emley Moor Mast and Kirkwood Hospice itself.
“The Huddersfield Monopoly challenge turned out to be the most rewarding challenge of the whole five years; I got a tour of the Stadium from Andy Booth, met Felix the station cat, got locked in jail, conducted the Huddersfield Choral society, and made connections with many other squares on the board in the course of running another 30 miles. The 70 mph winds and driving rain up Castle Hill was another highlight!”
Andy’s five year, 5,000 mile challenge has had another positive effect – rallying people around his cause. His efforts have led to a huge surge of interest in running among the Kirkwood community. Over the years, he’s gathered a small army of followers, and inspired a new generation of runners. It’s something Andy is rightly proud of.
“I’m really passionate about getting other people interested in running. It’s great for physical and mental health.
“For me there’s nothing better than getting out in the fresh air and completing a few miles early on a weekend morning either on my own or with friends. It gets the endorphins going, makes you feel good about yourself, and sets you up to enjoy the rest of you day.”
Andy reaches the end of the road, supported all the way by his friends and fellow runners.
Kirkwood Chief Executive, Michael Crowther had just arrived at Kirkwood when Andy clocked up his first mile. He has been blown away by Andy’s commitment – and stamina.
Michael said: “It’s quite hard to put into words just what an achievement this is. Andy is a wonderful ambassador for Kirkwood Hospice. I know he is passionate about the difference our care makes for people affected by any life limiting illness, and champions our cause wherever he goes.
“To commit half a decade to one single cause, and reach his goal, despite setbacks, injuries and the many obstacles that life presents is a testament to his amazing commitment. He is an integral part of the Kirkwood community.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you for everything Andy has achieved over the past few years. He has helped to raise almost £10,000 in that time, and created much needed awareness across Kirklees.”
Andy would love to reach his £10,000 target before the challenge officially finishes in October. You can sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andy5000. You can also follow his challenge on Twitter @andy5000miles and on Facebook by searching Kirkwood5000.
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