Derbyshire based Andy Brooks has completed a marathon challenge with a military theme, running from Britain to Belgium to honour war dead, past and present.
The Shelton Striders' endurance athlete and organiser of a 10-mile trail race - Brooksie’s Bash - has an impressive running pedigree. It includes a 100 mile run with two others to raise funds for independent charity Derbyshire Mind. They ran the entire length of the county non-stop in summer 2015, and this feat has been good preparation for his latest challenge.
Andy Brooks wanted to pay his respects to the soldiers of the Great War and raise funds for the Royal British Legion, a charity that played a major part in his late father’s life and highly respected by the Armed Forces and the general public. This coincided with a running club trip to take part in the Night of Flanders marathon and the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Andy's plan was to cover 500km in nine days, running the equivalent of an ultramarathon each day before finishing with the Belgium-based marathon, and on the last day was joined by several members of his club. His challenge would start on Thursday 9 June and end on Friday 17 June and into the early hours of Saturday 18 June.
The challenge began at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. His route took him through Rugby, Milton Keynes, Watford, London, the North Downs and Dover before he boarded a ferry to Calais. Once there, he continued to Dunkirk and finally Torhout in Belgium, the location for the Night of Flanders Marathon.
Andy ran between 35 to 40 miles each day, dedicating Day 3 to 401-marathon runner Ben Smith who had suspended his challenge due to injury.
It was a double celebration for Andy Brooks with a 3:47:25 finish time in the marathon and an overall mileage of 521.65km (324.21 miles) for the 9-day challenge.