Marathon master earns well-earned rest

This Is Wiltshire: Andy Knight, with supporters, taking part in his sponsored row Andy Knight, with supporters, taking part in his sponsored row

Father-of-two Andy Knight can put his feet up at Christmas after raising £4,852 for the Springboard Opportunity Group by completing 12 arduous challenges in 12 months.

The charity’s special needs pre-school in Lodge Road, Chippenham, provides support for Mr Knight’s close friend Russell Hodges, whose two-year-old daughter Eva has Downs Syndrome.

Mr Knight started the year with a 44-mile County to Capitals Ultra Marathon and finished by rowing 42 miles on a rowing machine in Chippenham’s Borough Parade Shopping Centre.

He completed the challenge in six hours and 39 minutes surrounded by staff from the charity and Christmas shoppers who stopped to give encouragement.

Mr Knight, 34, said: “November was the toughest challenge for me. That was a 100-mile race that was constant throughout the night. It took more than 28 hours to do.

“It was fairly easy compared to that, but dressed as Santa it was a little bit warm. I was expecting it to take around eight hours and up until the week before the event the furthest I had rowed was seven miles, so going into 42 miles was quite a leap.”

Mr Knight, who works for community services in east London, will spend Christmas with his wife Veryan and his children, five-year-old James and two-year-old Isabelle.

Eva was born just two weeks after Isabelle and Springboard has provided a life-line for her parents Russell and Jenny Hodges, who live in the Frogwell area of Chippenham.

Mr Knight said: “It was one year of my life, but for those guys over the next few years it’s going to be a constant challenge.

“Eva is their first child so getting support from Springboard and the staff to learn how to support her with her developmental needs is really important.

“The relationship they have with Eva is fantastic and she’s actually going to be having a little brother or sister in April.”

Springboard supports babies to five-year-olds with a range of disabilities. Manager Jane Boulton said: “It was just an incredible experience to be part of. It was lovely to cheer him on throughout the day and it was so lovely that families past and present from Springboard came over to the stand and made themselves known.

“It’s amazing that someone not only achieved these things but took the time and trouble to put Springboard in his life. We very much rely on the good deeds of those such as Andy to encourage us to continue what we’re doing.”

Mr Knight’s blog page can be found at www.averagejoechallenge2013.blogspot.com Donate at https://mydonate.bt. com/fundraisers/averagejoe

Andy's challenges:

January: The Country to Capital Ultra Marathon from Wendover to London (45 miles) in seven hours and 49 minutes.
February: The London Ultra Marathon in five hours and three minutes.
March: The New Forest Ultra Marathon in five hours and 16 minutes.
April: Six marathons in six days, including the Shakespeare in Stratford.
May: The Castle Ride, a 105-mile hilly course starting off from Tonbridge Castle in Kent.
June: The Dragon Ride taking in the hills of South Wales and the Brecon Beacons National Park.
July: Out of action after an injury forced him take five weeks to recover.
August: Cycling 140 miles from the Lake District across the Pennines and ending up in Tynemouth.
August: The Essex 100 bike ride in five hours and 52 minutes.
September: The London Duathlon, a 10km run, followed by a 44km bike ride and a 5km run.
October: The Snowdonia Marathon, a race round the national park.
November: The Winter 100, a 100-mile continuous trail race on the river Thames in 28 hours and 24 minutes.
December: Rowing 42 miles, the equivalent of rowing the channel, on a rowing machine.

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