An ultra runner has covered 70 miles non-stop to raise funds in memory of Penwortham man Andy Bradbury.Advertisement
Iain Asher decided to run the entire length of the Ribble Way after Andy passed away earlier this year. Andy, who was a keen cyclist and runner, had treatment for cancer in the 1990s, but his heart suffered, and by 2013 he had undergone an urgent transplant operation.
Iain completed the overnight run in 21 hours 20 minutes, and has raised around £1,500 so far for New Start, the Wythenshawe Hospital Transplant Fund.
He said: “I worked with Andy at Preston Police in the ‘90s. We had a lot of common interests and the same daft sense of humour.
“Andy had a strong link to the Ribble, and the river ran through his life. He lived in Penwortham and spent a lot of time as a younger man running and biking in North Yorkshire where the Ribble starts. The challenge had a nice symmetry, as I started in Yorkshire and finished at the Dolphin Inn in Longton where Andy’s wake was held.”
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The longest distance Iain had previously run was 50 miles. During this 70 mile challenge he battled changing weather conditions and navigation issues.
Iain said: “When you’ve been on your feet for that long it gets quite tiring and you do have low points, but by and large it was all good. The run varied between beautiful scenery and lovely running, and thunderstorms in the middle of the night.
“Navigation was a problem because most of the route is going field to field, and not actually by the river. I had a map and a head torch and spent a lot of time looking for the next overgrown style or hidden footpath.”
Iain needed to eat every 50 minutes or so to keep his energy up, so he had four planned 10-minute stops along the way where a supporter met him with food and water re-fills.
Iain continued: “When it started to get light at 4am I really felt like I’d been on my feet for an awful long time. But I got to Avenham Park at about 8am and it was so beautiful. All of a sudden I thought, I know where I am, it’s not far to Penwortham.
“It really raised my spirits and I started to run better. I even had a moment of madness and thought about joining the parkrun so I could be the only person to ever complete one after a 65 mile warm-up!”
Iain was joined for the last four miles by Andy’s son Joseph and his friends, who call themselves Andy’s Army.
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“I could hear their excited screams way before before I actually saw them. It was such an uplifting moment and great fun running with them. It was very emotional, and meeting Andy’s wife Lorna at the end was particularly moving.
“My target was £500, which I would have been pleased with, but it looks like I’ll raise £1,500. The generosity has been superb, and I can’t thank everyone enough for sponsoring me.”
To donate to Iain’s fundraising, visit Running the Ribble Way for Andy.