This was HUGE!
Imagine this... running from north of Cambridge to central London, and then running up to the top of the Shard (Europe’s tallest building) six times, and doing all of that on a rough surface, and mostly in the dark!!!
That is the equivalent of what Andy Collings just completed in Tring Park!!!
It’s an astounding achievement and all the more impressive because it was driven by his generosity and community spirit in order to raise funds for a defibrillator (and other safety kit we’d like) for Tring parkrun.
Few people could dig deep enough physically and mentally to pull this off.
If you haven’t already done so, please consider recognising Andy’s huge efforts and help raise much needed funds: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tringparkrun He's way exceeded his initial target but we're still a bit short for everything we need, and you will be supporting both Tring parkrun and the parkrun movement too!
Andy before (left) and after (right), looking remarkably well.
How it started
In Andy’s own words: “Sometime ago when the Tring parkrun Run Directors were discussing the 100th parkrun I made a flippant remark about running 100km. Last weekend I decided I was actually going to do it. In doing so I wanted to raise funds for a parkrun defibrillator. I cleared it with Andy Evans our event director on the Monday, announced and created a crowdfunding page on the Tuesday.”
Nothing like a bit of long term planning then!
Andy with some of those that ran the first lap with him at 7:45pm
Andy set what seemed like a real stretch fundraising goal. “I could never have expected that by Friday evening, when I started the run, that the target had [already] been achieved! So many wonderful people making donations”.
Indeed people who had nothing to do with Tring were inspired. One message on the Just Giving Page was “Hi Andy, you don't know me (and I've never been to Tring!) but I had a cardiac arrest at Hilly Fields parkrun in 2015 so your cause very much resonates with me! Best wishes for the run”.
In total we needed to raise about £1700 - and it looks like Andy is on track to have made that happen through his own efforts. In addition to the Just Giving Page we also were given £100 in cash on the morning. He’s smashed his goal by a huge margin.
One runner said “Normally I would never donate outside of the 3 charities I support over a year but having run that hill I can see the need for a defibrillator - as I somehow managed to creep under 30mins decided I had to put my normal parkrun coffee money in the bucket.”
The 100km run itself
Andy’s idea was to start at 7:30pm on Friday and complete 19 laps through the night and the 20th with the normal parkrun. He was was prepared to run the whole way unsupported, however his commitment inspired many to turn up through the night to help him on his way, although he still had quite a few lonely, dark laps to complete on his own.
It was very dark in the middle of the night.
In Andy's own words again: “I have been totally overwhelmed by not only peoples donations but also their kindness in supporting me. I'm not going to mention any name as there really are so many of you. Thank you to those who came to see to see me off, those who kept me company at the start, finish and some in the middle of the morning (some more than once). Thank you for the tea, toast, cola and chocolate bars. And thank you to the very special people who dragged me around the final (I can't remember how many) laps. I wasn't great company and I apologise I couldn't share your humour at the time but had it not been for you I would never of made the start line of parkrun 100”.
One online supporter said “That has to be one of the hardest parkrun courses out there, those big hills up and down would have made that a real challenge - incredible. Well done Andy!” What an understatement!
Andy was in pain from lap 7 onwards and I will never know where he found the strength to keep going. By lap 17 Andy was - to be honest - in bad shape. The arriving parkrunners and those running with him gave him a lift. He kept going!!
With amazing timing Andy reached the 94km mark just as the New Runners Briefing was taking place - and huge cheer and applause helped him on his way. He finished his 19th lap just a few minutes before the parkrun started to an even bigger cheer!!
Andy got a huge cheer at the end of his 19th lap. Time for a short turnaround and then lap 20!!
We had noticed that Andy was running extra distance each lap - in the end he covered 101.3km (according to his GPS - the reality was he almost certainly did more!). He burned almost 10,000 calories in the process, climbed the equivalent of 1707m (!!) and took 15 hours and 11 minutes!!
A large crowd waited to cheer him to the finish. It was emotional! Oscar the dog was there to welcome him, as was his partner Katie without whose support Andy could not complete his “little runs”, as he put it!
Facebook lit up with comments
- “Super effort - just doing that course once was enough for me…”
- “I was there. A great atmosphere and brilliant to witness his huge achievement"
- “Yes I was there & chatted to him as we were going round the reverse course. It was great that lots of people stayed to cheer him over the line - just such an awesome achievement - 1 lap of Tring is more than enough for me. Had to donate to support his efforts.”
- “That's amazing Andy!!! Very well done to you. A truly fabulous thing to do for your community.”
Thank you Andy - you’re a star!
Andy coming up to the finish line of the 100th Tring parkrun, having run 100km!!!
And the final word goes to Andy himself
“A massive thank you to absolutely everybody that has been involved, I have been humbled by what a great bunch of people you all are. Not only have we achieved our fundraising target we've totally smashed it!”
Andy taking a well deserved seat with Oscar
A celebratory - and very well earned - bottle of Side Pocket
Don't forgot you can still show your appreciation for Andy's efforts at his Just Giving Page