accessibility & help

Andy's story: a race of thanks

Runner Andy SmithPenny Sims (BRC)When Andy Smith collapsed with heatstroke as he crossed the Great North Run finish line in 2007, you’d be forgiven for thinking he would never want to run another mile. But thanks to the support of our first aid volunteers, he was back – and raising money for the British Red Cross – to complete the 2008 race.

Andy, from Harrogate, said: “It was a hot day, so as I was running along thinking ‘I’m doing quite a good time’, I got heatstroke. I remember entering the last mile and the next thing I knew I opened my eyes and I was looking at a tent roof. I don’t remember finishing, but I still did a personal best.

First aid help

“I was surrounded by a concerned doctor and nurse who were monitoring my temperature and sponging me down with ice water. A liaison chap from the Red Cross was there, getting in touch with relatives.

“My wife had arranged to meet me, so when I was late she realised something must have happened. She asked at the Red Cross first aid point and they called the hospital tent.

“Her first words to me were ‘that’s it, you’re doing it for the Red Cross next year’. Everybody was very supportive, so I decided to raise money for them.”

Running challenge

Andy, who raised £310 for the Red Cross’ work, started running as something “a bit different from going to the gym”, but soon got addicted: “I do two or three half-marathons a year now.”

Andy’s advice for any aspiring runners is to “make sure you take on plenty of fluids. I was probably a bit dehydrated in 2007, which is why I collapsed”.

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