Record-breaking mission for ex-Marine

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Andy Grant in training on a local beach with canine company © AG Motivation

Andy Grant in training on a local beach with canine company © AG Motivation

A former marine from Liverpool hopes to beat the world record for the fastest 10k run by a single-leg amputee, and says he won’t stop until he achieves his goals.

Andy Grant, from Orrell Park, attempted the Southport 10K earlier this month in a bid to beat the current record-holder, but missed out by just a few minutes as a result of bad weather and 28mph winds on the coastal road.

The 25-year-old told JMU Journalism: “It was The Royal Marines 350th birthday this year and I wanted to do the race and raise £3,500 for them. I managed to raise over £4,000, so although I didn’t get the record it was still a success.

“On the day of the race it was exactly five years and six days since my accident so it would have been nice to take the record then, for sentimental reasons more than anything, but it just wasn’t meant to be.”

Since his elective surgery in 2010, Andy has been a full-time motivational speaker and fundraiser. He joined the Marines at the tender age of 17 and was injured by two IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) whilst out serving in Afghanistan at the age of 20.

He told JMU Journalism: “What happened in Afghanistan made me see the importance of doing something that you truly love and that we are on this planet for such a short time. Being injured has made me want to talk to others and hopefully inspire them that anything is possible no matter what hurdles are put in your way.”

In order to bid for the racing title this year, Andy will be competing in the St Helens 10K run on 9th March and has several other ten kilometre races lined-up if he still hasn’t managed to beat the current record of 38 minutes. It is held by Canadian Rick Ball, who holds the fastest single-leg amputee record for the 10k, half marathon and full marathon.

Mr Grant said: “I looked at getting into the Paralympics at first and I was keen to get involved in that but I was gutted to see that the longest distance you can run is 400m because of my disability classification. So I thought, there’s got to be other amputees that run longer distance and I found out about this Canadian guy who holds the records so I tried to have a go at beating him at that.

Andy Grant with his daughter, Brooke © AG Motivation

Andy Grant with his daughter, Brooke © AG Motivation

“I did the Liverpool Half Marathon last March, which was my first competitive race, to see how I got on and then I did a race in Southport and out of 250 people I came 19th and I thought, do you know what, I’m actually not too bad at this, so that was that.”

Andy believes that if he hadn’t decided to have his leg amputated, he wouldn’t be able to walk without crutches, let alone run. He shares his passion for running with his dog, Oppo, who he bought after he began “feeling sorry” for himself, shortly after his amputation.

He revealed: “Getting off crutches after five months was the best feeling I had in a very long time. There were a lot of low points until I got to this. I felt that I had served my time on crutches and it was my time to go and enjoy myself. Sometimes life has a funny way of grabbing hold of you and pulling you back. It was a relief to have my independence back.”

Andy will continue to raise money for military charities that are close to him and will build upon the £4,000 he has raised for the Royal Marines in his upcoming races.

About Shannyn Quinn, JMU Journalism