WHEN Andrew Kirk faced the disappointment of not getting a place at this year’s London marathon he didn’t give up on his quest to raise charity cash.
Instead he set himself a new audacious target - completing 13 half marathons in 2013.
And that’s exactly what he’s done.
Since Andrew toed the starting line at the Central Lancashire half marathon at the start of January, he has gone on to complete the Great North West half marathon, the North East Coast half marathon and 13.1 mile races at Wilmslow, Blackpool, Chester, Freckleton, Tenby, in South Wales, Isle of Man, Fleetwood, Warrington, the Great Scottish Run, where he ran his personal best of one hour 46 minutes and finally Amsterdam.
Add to that the Adidas 24 hour Thunder Run, in June, a 10km team relay race where he ran three gruelling cross country races in 17 hours through the night in torrential rain and mud with only a head torch for light and you can understand why Andrew is feeling satisfied.
“Having completed the challenge it all seems a bit of a dream, but very satisfying,” said Andrew, a former student at Sacred Heart Primary School and English Martyrs RC School and Sixth Form College.
“I am relieved to complete all 13 without getting injured to be honest.”
Andrew, who competed for Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers in the past now lives in Manchester where he moved to study, but all of his family still live in the town.
And it’s a town cause which Andrew has been supporting throughout his challenge, Hartlepool and District Hospice.
But rather that donate the money which he raised so far, dedicated Andrew has even more endurance challenges in the pipeline.
He explained: “Now the challenge is complete I am continuing to raise sponsorship and in a final bid for donations I have set my challenges for 2014.
“I will be taking on the UK Iron Man 70.3 Triathlon at Wimbleball, in Devon, in June, which is a 1.2 mile open water swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon.
“Until a month ago I had never swam in open water and didn’t even have a bike!
“The UK Iron Man Triatlhon is one of the toughest events of its type with over 4,200ft climbing, the equivalent of the height of Ben Nevis.”
Janice Forbes, Hartlepool & District Hospice’s community fundraiser, said: “Andrew has been a true inspiration.
“I can’t applaud him highly enough for such an incredible personal achievement.
“This shows what can be done with hard work and dedication and Andrew is a fantastic example to our charity.
“We are delighted he chose to support the hospice and the money he raises will all be used to fund the care we provide, free of charge to our patients.
“I would like to pass on my most sincere thanks on behalf of everyone at the hospice.”
People can sponsor Andrew by visiting www.justgiving.com/andrew-kirk4.