We recently caught up with Andy, his story into physical activity is already inspiring more people to get involved and he’s even set up a running group near to where he lives. Read Andy’s story below:
What was your journey through physical activity and sport and what got you to where you are now?
It was actually being accepted via ballot entry for the 2014 London Marathon that got me into running. What I learnt over time is that no runner started off by being a runner, it takes time and dedication. As a runner you have to expect both good days as well as off days as it takes time, but like with any physical activity, you must never give up! I had to be patient, and explore and try different running routes until I found a few that I enjoyed.
You will have some aches and pains but you must always respect the distance whether it is 5k or more. I therefore realised that all of these reasons are all of what can be applied for not only in running, or in any other activity or sport, but in life. Another lesson learnt is that running can be a great stress reliever, and helps to keep your mind at rest, as well as keeping your body in shape. After the marathon, I really got the bug, and felt encouraged to sign up for more races of varying distance such as 5k, 10k, and half marathons in order to build up my experience as well as my confidence in running, and setting goals. This included beating my best times and in general aiming to better myself.
How do you fit physical activity and sport around your day-to-day duties?
My motto is ‘make running a lifestyle’ it isn`t just a motto, I really do try and live by that. The way I see it, is that physical activity and sport is a necessity in life, and being active is also about being healthy and feeling better. I have always tried to make physical activity a fun habit instead of a chore, which is what I tell others too who run with me. I feel by doing this, I will continue enjoying this habit and maintain and build on it.
Why is physical activity essential to your identity?
In terms of physical activity, since running became a big part of my life, friends and neighbours kept asking me to help them get started. I completed a Leadership in Running Fitness Course (LiRF) earlier this year in May, and became a UKA Run Leader. I have since started my local running group ‘Run with Andy®` where running and walking sessions take place twice a week from One Tree Hill Park.
My aim is not only to get people out and active, but to also help make physical activity enjoyable and rewarding. I also include outdoor gym sessions as well to mix it up and keep it interesting.
I feel a sense of responsibility in my neighbourhood to help people reach their fitness goals whatever they may be, and to give encouragement and to maintain, in a fun and meaningful way.
What are your struggles to being physically active?
Long working hours and family commitments can cut into your activity time as well as changes in weather, especially when Autumn and Winter comes along when it gets darker and colder.
I usually change running routes to combat this, as some parks do not have any or much lighting, running routes are adjusted to the change in weather. I keep it interesting as there are plenty of scenic locations in London to choose from to either walk, jog or run in, so the change is not a bad one.
How is London a unique place for you to exercise?
London is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world, there is plenty happening exercise wise! There are quite a few trail running routes as well as stadiums around such as my local one at Wembley Stadium where quite a few people run laps around the stadium with a nice view from near the top of the stadium at night. There are also a number of parks, trail running routes, outdoor gyms, boot camps, Zumba, Yoga and Pilates classes as well as other outdoor and indoor fitness classes happening and many more! An example of this is when I take others running with me at my sessions, if they can only run a certain amount, I use outdoor gyms as a break from running as I feel this provides a great compliment to fitness, and as with outdoor gyms, they are suitable for ages 12 and above.
We’re sharing stories of physical activity and sport to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of active opportunities in London, if you’d like to tell your story and potentially inspire someone else to get active, email: firstname.lastname@example.org