22nd Mar, 2019

Shirley Parkinson's sufferer ready to complete London Marathon two weeks before 750-mile bike ride

Sarah Mason 11th Apr, 2018

FOR MANY jumping onto a bike and completing a 750-mile ride two weeks after crossing the London Marathon’s finishing line probably wouldn’t cross their mind, but that’s exactly what a dad of four has set himself the challenge of doing.

Andy Hobbs, from Shirley, decided to raise £1million for several charities before he dies after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in October 2014.

His latest venture will see him take to the starting line in the capital alongside thousands of others on April 22 and complete the 26.2-mile course around the city.

Then two weeks later, on May 5, he will be lining up with his work colleagues from the Coventry Fraikin offices at the start line of a 750-mile bike ride from Glasgow to Coventry.

The route will take them to Warrington, Oldbury, Garretts Green, Coventry, Northampton, Enfield, Harrow, Heathrow and Bristol, before they head back to the company’s corporate headquarters near Coventry Airport on May 11.

The 53-year-old said: “They say nothing motivates like a diagnosis, and so it has proved for me. I’ve set myself a £1m charity fundraising target before I die, and as I’m not dead yet, well, the game is still on.

“It’s a life changing moment being told that you have any illness, but within a minute to be told that there is no cure, and that you will lose your movement capabilities makes it a moment that most patients remember vividly.

“The marathon will not be quick, or pretty, but if I can get over the finish line before they officially close it, it will all seem worthwhile.”

Andy said he hopes to complete the marathon in under seven hours and he is looking forward to crossing the finishing line on The Mall.

He said: “Parkinson’s compromises movement, speed, balance and strength – all the things you would ideally have in abundance to complete a marathon – I used to run for fun, but pains in my legs mean I struggle to run for anything more than one minute at a time now, meaning a walk-run strategy for the big day.

“If I can walk for four and a half minutes, then run for half a minute, repeatedly, my body will hopefully hold out for the duration.

“Parkinson’s takes more from me than my training seems able to put back, and it is both frightening and frustrating having such stark evidence, in the form of your times for each mile, or your power output on a bike, presented to you showing the relentless decline.

“It will be a huge challenge to get to the finish line before they close the course, but I’m really hoping I can get round in under seven hours.”

So far he has raised £5,000 through many projects including four Wolf Runs, a four-month alcohol abstinence and Movember, where he didn’t shave for one month.

Andy is also restoring a 1984 Porsche 924 which he will donate to Parkinson’s UK to auction.

He is hoping the marathon and the bike ride will help tip his efforts to more than £10,000.

For more about Andy’s London Marathon challenge or to donate visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamFraikinVLM18

More details about the Tour De Fraikin or to donate visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TourDeFraikin

Or to find out more about Andy’s story visit www.drewstersmillions.co.uk

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