It was a pleasure to be invited to the Challenge 66 gala dinner. It was also a pleasure to listen to Andy McMenemy talk, and get a chance to meet him. He ran 66 ultra marathons in 66 days, to raise money for soldierscharity.org.
An incredible feat, you will agree, but Andy is very humble about his achievements. He calls the support vehicle a ‘tank’ and talks of training runs in a shopping centre in Bradford, Catherine Riley – kirkgate shopping centre manager instrumental in the organisation of the centre in sponsoring Andy.
He also, with the help of Bob Jones from education Bradford, created a huge educational drive too, helping the children from 9 Calderdale primaries see the world and get out of the area. For 75% of the 4300 children, it was their first time outside Bradford. They also learned the valuable and admirable quality selflessness through involvement.
‘The pain I go through doesn’t compare to the pains soldiers go through’ says Andy, saying that he was only one part of a very big team.
3.3 million strides were taken
365 litres of water
319 thousand calories eaten
31 miles a day.
And he says it was a privilege to do it.His main aim? To raise charity profile, who look after soldiers and families for life. Soldierscharity.org was the first soldier’s charity. For every casket that is returned, there are 5-6 seriously injured says Andy. Prosthetics (computerised) cost £75,000 and last 5 years. NHS and the government don’t pay.
Andy managed to drum up 400 media articles, several major Major tv and media interviews, reaching 50,000 people.
And a Challenge is exactly what it was. 217 miles a week for 9 weeks. He even tore his Achilles on day 2, and it was swelling outside the shoe. Despite this he still ran: 5.5 HR runs. He then developed pain on left side from tibia strain as well as severe tendonistis. 5.5 hour runs became 10.57. Incredible pain, he was physically sick thinking about that pain. Voltarol and building the miles is what got him through.
Andy talks about the law of persistence: one foot in front of the other. Regardless of goal you will get there. He says he is not super fit – just stubborn, and there is a tremendous goal. When he was in that pain, he thought those soldiers who would swap with him at that point. One time when he was in tears from the pain he shook hands with a double amputee who appeared at that stage. He said my legs don’t hurt my feet don’t blister!
Andy says that he was just the front man of a team and quitting was not an option.
17 operations for Nathan, Andy perseveres.