It all began during a bit of banter with friends over a pint but now Andy Temple is set to run his first ever marathon, having shed five stones in weight in the process.
Andy had “never run before” but when it was suggested the Glendale Park man take on the Walled City Marathon in memory of his brother Stephen - who died two weeks before his 40th birthday last year - he made up his mind to sign up.
“I was out drinking with friends and we wanted to do something in memory of Stephen. The marathon was decided on but at that stage I was only considering walking it. After a few weeks we started to run and we never looked back, now the target is to finish it by running without stopping,” he told the ‘Journal’.
The marathon will take place six days before the first anniversary of Stephen’s death, whose “heart gave out” on May 27 last.
“I was downstairs and heard him mumbling and he just dropped. Me and another fella tried to resuscitate him but his heart gave out on him. It was hard times.”
Andy said the shock of losing Stephen, who “weighed 20 odd stone”, gave him the impetus to lose some weight and he signed up to Slimming World soon afterwards. “I was 19 stone 9 lbs but through Slimming World and a lot of walking I lost a few stone and after weeks of running I lost another couple of stone - I’m now 14 stone 10lbs.”
Andy has joined the Foyle Hospice’s Team 26.2 in an effort to raise funds for the charity, where his wife Ailbhe is employed. His five year-old son Riam has also weighed in behind him, with a recent sponsored run to support his dad in St Columb’s Park. “Riam and my wee nieces and nephews got together and raised £182 for the fund,” he said.
Training for the gruelling event is progressing well and just last weekend Andy reached his first competitive milestone when he completed the Omagh Half Marathon in an impressive two hours and four minutes.