A POLICE officer who successfully completed 16 half marathons in eight months has revealed that the streets of the West Midlands were among his favourite parts of his epic charity challenge.
Operations officer PC Andy Mandefield kick-started his herculean challenge back in March when starting at the Coventry half marathon to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Support from family, friends, colleagues and strangers helped Andy raise over £2,000 – doubling his initial £1,000 target.
The challenge saw John run in multiple half marathons up and down the country with several taking place in the Midlands.
It wasn’t all plane sailing for the officer though as he revealed he nearly fell at the first hurdle following substantial pain to his knee.
The 32-year-old used a knee support to help him struggle through the Coventry – and proceeding Milton Keynes run – where eventually it was revealed that John was wearing the wrong style of trainer for his running style.
PC Mandefield said: “It may sound quite insignificant to some, but I immediately started having trouble with my knee and it got to a point a week before the marathon where I couldn’t run more than six miles without breaking down.”
New footwear, a chiropractor and a sports therapist gave Andy a new lease of life – so much so that he squeezed the Chester full marathon into his packed schedule.
The Great Birmingham Run proved to be a high point for the father who ran through the communities and streets that he patrols – and was overwhelmed by the warm brummie welcome offered to competitors.
Andy added: “Families were handing out water from their driveways and spectators were running alongside us to provide refreshments.
“It was also great to see so much support for Birmingham Children’s Hospital on home turf.
“In each run I wore the charity’s jersey which prompted runners to pat me on the back and share the amazing differences the hospital had on the life of a loved one.
“When times got tough these stories of courageous children battling illness inspired me to keep going.
“No matter how tired or drained I was feeling it was nothing compared to what the children were going through.”
The running enthusiast was quick to recognise the support of two special ladies in his life – his wife and daughter, who witnessed most of the events and even ran over the line with him at the conclusion of the Worcester half marathon.
Andy said: “Without them both I wouldn’t have enjoyed the challenge anywhere near as much as I have.”
“The memories I have made will last with me forever.
“From the Red Arrows flying overhead as I ran across the Tyne in Newcastle, to the spectator who offered me some ale as I ran past ? which I politely declined.
“The first mile is always the toughest, but it could be the start of an amazing journey.
“As for me, I don’t think I will be hanging my running boots up just yet.”
To find out more details about PC Mandefiled’s epic challenge, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=andrewmandefield