Record man Andy McMenemy to hit Silksworth

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ANDY McMENEMY arrives in Sunderland next Tuesday nearing the end of his epic journey to establish a Guinness world record for consecutive ultra marathons.

During his Challenge66 he is attempting to run 66 ultra marathons in 66 days, one in each of the 66 official cities in the United Kingdom. The record is 52.

The son of a former soldier runs his 63rd 50k at Silksworth Sports Complex, starting at 9.00am outside the ski lodge. The run is being supported by Sunderland Harriers and Sunderland Strollers.

The Challenge66 team are hoping to raise in excess of £1 million pounds during this mammoth run. Funds raised will go to the ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity who are celebrating a successful 66 years of delivering outstanding support to British Army personnel.

During the early days of the run and overcoming an Achilles tendon problem, McMenemy’s elation saw him pushing the pace in both Salisbury and Exeter to 5hrs 58min and 5hrs 57min respectively.

But McMenemy’s staggering goal has not been without further problems. On day 27 at Wells he said it was the day he met his limits, suffering from severe inflammation of the tibialus anterior.

He said: “I spent 10hr 57min fighting with everything I had to stay in the struggle. The pain was immense. So much so that I had to phone the Guinness World Records to explain that I needed to visit A&E for medical attention, but was told that I could not use crutches or any artificial aid to complete the run.’’

Thankfully, the pain gradually subsided and he got back to form until he hit Northern Ireland last weekend.

Just when he thought he was running smoothly again something else came along in Armagh. The back pain that was a twinge had developed into excruciating pain. He could hardly walk let alone run. The diagnosis was that he needed to delay the start and find an osteopath to try and sort his back out. Fortunately one was found and after an hour of being bent, tweaked and cracked he was back to running fitness. The change was unbelievable. A time of 6:37:22 was amazing after his problem.

The run enters Newcastle on Monday before coming to Sunderland and arriving at Durham on Wednesday. Then it is off to Ripon before finishing in York on Friday.

You can send a donation online at Challenge66 or you can send a cheque or money order made out to “Challenge66” to Project Office, Challenge66, 104 Station Parade, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG1 1HQ.

H Sunderland Harriers’ veterans showed their sprinting prowess in the North East Veterans’ Track and Field League at Monkton. Amanda Edwards won the W35 100m in 14.7, M50 Steve Smith also won in 13.1 and Graham Lee, an M35, was third in his race in 13.1.

H Sunderland Harrier Alan Hodgson won his first ever prize with second veterans’ award in the Lambton multi terrain 5k at Lambton Park on Sunday. Clubmate 64-year-old Jim Wightman, pictured, also sneaked into the prize list with third place. The former Silksworth newsagent finished eighth overall to Hodgson’s fourth.

H The Martin brothers, Patrick and Jack, will be chasing personal best times in Sunday’s Manchester 10k. They will be joined by their Sunderland Harrier clubmate Steven Duffy, who has recovered from his fall in the Lambton 5k when he was confronted by a gaggle of geese and a flock of sheep!

H Houghton Harriers (322pts) finished third in their division four Northern Athletics League match at Middlesbrough behind winners Richmond and Zeland (388) and Middlesbrough and Cleveland (359). In an exciting 3,000m steeplechase Houghton’s Tom Grey won in 11:01.2 with Heaton’s Lucas Longman finishing second with the same time.

H The North East Track and Field championships takes place over Saturday and Sunday at the weekend, starting at 10.00am.