A KIND-HEARTED firefighter who has raised hundreds of pounds for
charity today urged people to give as much as they can as he bids
to reach a Â£5,000 target.
Andy Graham, who works for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue
Service based at Trafford Borough Headquarters in Stretford, is
raising cash for the Children's Burns Foundation.
As part of his fund-raising effort, he recently completed the
gruelling Rhode Island marathon in America, finishing the 26.2 mile
course in just over four hours in sweltering conditions. Andy, 45,
came 521st out of the 1,193 people that managed to
complete the race.
Andy, who was joined by thousands of other keen runners in
Providence on May 1 to tackle the event, said: "When the gun was
fired, we set off quickly but the heat and the rolling hills soon
took their toll and I suffered a mini energy crisis at around 9.5
miles. I plodded on and met my last killer hill at 23 miles when I
forced myself up the incline, the point when many runners slowed
down or even dropped out of the race all together.
"This was a real test, as my mind fought with my body to keep
things going. The tall city buildings, where the finish line
was located, in the distance just didn't seem to be getting any
Andy, who has been in the fire service for 24 years and spent
months training for the event, added: "I was in a great deal of
pain but kept on pushing, eventually making it to the final corner
where the crowds were cheering. I remember telling myself that I
wanted to finish this run and finish it well, so I gritted my teeth
and dug deep to get across the finish line.
"The course was really tough but a beautiful and scenic one too.
I'd definitely recommend it to anyone considering a
marathon. I feel that I have really achieved something by
completing the course in the time that I did, especially at my age
and on my first attempt.
"Finally, thank you to everyone who has made a donation - every
penny is gratefully received and goes straight to the charity!"
Children's Burns Foundation Trustee Suzanne Stolberg said:
"Children's Burns Foundation is committed to providing financial
support for a wide range of initiatives that help both the physical
and psychological rehabilitation of burn-injured children and young
people in the region. So when wonderful people raise vital money
for us, we know that it will be spent directly on some great
projects that have real results.
"Andy challenged himself to run 26 miles, which is a fabulous
achievement. But his fundraising means that we can help those
who are challenged every day - quite simply, we help them realise
that scars don't limit.
"The charity is so grateful to Andy and all those who helped him
raise this amazing amount of money - he definitely deserves to put
his feet up for a few days after that run."
Every penny really does count and Andy's Just Giving page will
be live for the next few weeks: www.justgiving.com/AndyGrahamMarathon2011
To view footage from the Cox Rhode Race Providence Marathon 2011