Andy completes care package challenge

One of the well known faces at Termoneeny Running Club is Andy Campbell and this big hearted 41-year old from Omagh has been raising money and providing care pakages for local front line workers.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 11:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 11:51 am
The incredible Andy Campbell

What makes Andy even more special is the fact that over the past 20 years he has raised a remarkable £30,000 for charity and more recently the £1600 he raised for the NHS care packages.

To raise the money Andy completed a half marathon and an Ultra - 29 mile challenge to raise funds to donate care packages to local health care workers.

The care packages included a mixture of quick made food including pot noodles, porridge, tins of soup, biscuits, tea, coffee, water, diluting mineral and buns.

Andy Campbell

They also contain PPE including face shields, face masks, some gloves and sanitiser.

Andy who joined the club just over 19 months ago has lost over 12 stone in two years, a tremendous feat in itself and being a member of this popular running club has helped play its part in his journey.

Andy took time out of his impressive fund raising efforts to answer our Questions of Sport.

Name?

Andy Campbell

Andy Campbell

Age?

41 years old

Hometown?

Andy and Aurelia, at the Spirit of NI Awards, where Andy was shortlisted for most inspirational runner

Omagh

What school did you attend?

Omagh High School

Are you a member of a Club?

Andy's Before photo

Yes, Termoneeny Running Club

Why did you choose this particular Club to join?

When I started running I got to meet quite a few members from this club at organised runs and the support from them was second to none, even before I joined.

How long have you been running and why did you start running?

It’s 19 months since I completed my first official run.

Running really wasn’t an option as I hated it at school. It all began one night during my 1-2-1 sessions at my gym with my personal trainer when she told me that we were going outside to run.

She got a few choice words lol. Since that I’ve not looked back. I continued with the running to try and better my fitness levels.

Can you tell us about your weight loss journey and how running has helped?

My weight loss journey began in January 2018. Throughout 2017 my health had deteriorated to the point that I couldn’t even walk 10m without sitting down and having a fan on me 24/7.

In April 2018 I was diagnosed with having type 2 diabetes, still this didn’t really worry me.

Things then just went from bad to worse as I wasn’t sleeping properly at night and then during the day if I sat down at all I was out for the count.

My depression started to really take over too and my motivation was not good.

My wife Aurelia noticed that at night when I did fall asleep I would stop breathing and hold my breath. I still didn’t take it seriously.

I eventually made an appointment with my doctor and was tested for sleep apnoea.

In December I got the results, which were not good. I was at the severe end of having sleep apnoea, stopping breathing 89 times in 1 hour.

I was then measured up there and then and put on a machine to keep my airways open and keep me breathing at night.

As I was getting fitted for my mask, the respiratory nurse took Aurelia to one side and told her that I was on the verge of taking a heart-attack or a stroke within a matter of weeks if I didn’t do something about it.

Again this didn’t sink in until after Christmas.

On Wednesday, January 3, 2018 I returned to Slimming World which I had been attending on and off for seven years previously.

I got the shock of my life when I weighed in at nearly 30 stone.

I still had no motivation to do anything at this stage but that evening it just clicked and in my first week I lost 14lb.

By June I had lost 5 stone and was asked if I would take part in a 12 week Biggest Loser Challenge in Aid of Shop Mobility in Omagh, which I did.

At this point I took my first step back into exercise which was very hard to do. I joined a gym and went to 1-2-1 training three times a week.

During these 12 weeks I lost a further 2st 7lb and went on to win the Biggest Loser Challenge. Within one year of losing weight I was taken off all the medication for diabetes. In my first year at Slimming World I managed to lose 10 stone.

In total over the two yrs I lost 12st 7lb. I have gained a few pounds again but am much healthier than I was.

My first introduction to running was in August 2018 when my PT took me outside and told me I was going for a run. After a few metres I was lying on the ground gasping for air and looking for an ambulance. I didn’t give up and each 1-2-1 session I progressed that bit further. By October I had entered my first official run and never looked back. Within one year I had completed 100 official races.

These included 5k’s, 10k’s, and half marathons. I marked my 100th run at Kells and Connor half Marathon where we had cake afterwards with a few of my running buddies and was presented with a bottle of champagne by the organising committee as I crossed the finish line.

To date I’ve completed 142 races which include 16 half marathons, one marathon and one unofficial ultra of 29 miles. I decided to do the Dublin Marathon 2019 back in May of that year when another Club member mentioned it to me.

I didn’t like the idea of it at the time but it was the best running experience of my life to date.

What is it about running you enjoy most?

I really like the social side of running, getting out and meeting people and also the fact that it helps to de-stress the mind.

What is your favourite distance?

I prefer the longer distances, 10k, 10 milers and half marathons

What has been your best achievement and why?

Dublin Marathon 2019 has to be my biggest achievement. I ran this as a fundraiser for Action Mental Health and in memory of a good friend of mine who had died four months earlier. This achievement is closely followed by losing 12.5 stone over two years.

What is the toughest part about running for you?

When you hear that voice in your head telling you that you can’t do it, even though you know that you have ran the distance before.

Have you had any injuries?

Thankfully I have had no injuries, I did take groin strain 1 mile into Donegal three quarters Marathon back at the end of September but it was all down to a change in footwear. (But it didn’t stop me going on and finishing the race!)

How often do you train?

I normally go out three or four times a week at the moment. In the past it was nearly every day and when it come to races I have been known to complete three in one day.

What is your favourite season?

I don’t really have a favourite season, as long as it’s dry and you can get out and about, that’s all that matters.

What is your favourite race?

It has to be the Dublin Marathon last year as it was my first marathon. It would be closely followed by Termoneeny 5k/10k

What are your top tips for a beginners?

Just go out and do it, no matter how slow you think you are, an 8 minute mile is the same as a 16 minute mile - a mile is a mile.

What is your favourite food?

Everything, food is good lol.

Do you listen to anything when you run and if so that? Who is on your playlist?

Sometimes I listen to music, can be anything from country to pop.

What are your running goals for the future?

I want to try to better my times and myself in my performance, and if I can help anyone on the way to progress themselves in their running that’s always a bonus.

What is your favourite running gadget?

The only running gadget I have is my Garmin watch - if it hasn’t recorded the run then it hasn’t happened lol.

Do you have any pre-run rituals?

When it comes to official runs I get up, have my breakfast, normally porridge and banana, make my way to the run and get the Uddermint on the legs to help with any aches, most of the time lol.

Tell us about your recent fundraising activities for Carers across NI.

At the beginning of lockdown I decided that I wanted to do something to keep myself busy and my mind occupied, so I thought that I would do some fundraising to provide Care Packages for our local frontline heroes.

On Saturday, April 18 I ran a half marathon around my garden and park followed by a six hour challenge the following week, covering 29 miles.

You can still get involved by completing a virtual challenge for anyone who would like some motivation.

You can run, jog, walk or cycle any distance of your choice to earn a bespoke medal. Just look for me on facebook.

To date I’ve handed over 10 care packages to local nursing homes in my hometown of Omagh, North West Caring, Omagh District Nurses, Newtownstewart and Drumquin District Nurses, Rowan Villa Day Centre for Mental Health and Altnagelvin COVID Ward.

I still have to visit SWAH COVID Ward in Enniskillen and have planned a few individual care packages.

Andy presenting a Care Package to Three Rivers Care Home
Andy at Dublin Marathon 2019
Andy at an EAMS Half Marathon, Carrickfergus
Andy with good friend Tracy Shanahan from TRC
Andy with Colette and Ann from TRC