Power of Running: Andrew Porter

Brooks Shoe Finder

Here at The Great Run Company, we believe in the power of running – our runners share their inspirational stories for taking part in our AJ Bell Great Run series events, whether it be the 10k, half marathon, or 10mile – and it’s clear to see: everyone has a story and reason for running.

Discover some of the amazing stories behind the tens of thousands of runners who line up across our start lines each year.

In our Power of Running campaign, we are bringing to life inspirational stories that highlight the transformative impact running has on individuals and communities in Great Run locations across the UK. There are many reasons for running, but we’ll be particularly emphasising stories of mental health, community, fundraising, and physical fitness.

Andrew Porter, 47, is running the AJ Bell Great Manchester Run

Andrew has ran every Great Manchester Run 10k since it started in 2003. Furthermore, through his motivation to stay physically fit and active, for the past few years run Andrew not only completed the half marathon, he then circles back to join the 10k start line, running both distances in the same day.

What is your challenge for 2024, how will the Great Run series help you?

“I am one of the very few that have completed all the Great Manchester 10K events since it started in 2003. I genuinely have never missed one, even the one where I forgot my trainers and had
to run it in my slippers. I’ve started to do the Half Marathon and the 10K one after the other. Just a bit of a challenge that to some seems utterly bonkers but to others it would be just a standard run. This just forms part of my running routine and is a fitness test for myself, now I’m getting on a bit.”

Why did you start running?

“31 years ago, I was an Apprentice Engineer, and we had an annual football match between two sides of the factory. After 10 minutes of said ‘game’ I could barely walk and couldn’t breathe. I simply couldn’t believe how unfit I was. I vowed never again. So, when it was getting round to the time of year to do the match again I started running, here I am 30 years later!”

What motivates you to run and keep going?

“I like to have a few races lined up across the year. I’ve done all kinds of races from 5K ParkRun through to Ultramarathons and even 24hr runs. I sign up, and I know I then I have to run and complete what I’ve signed up to do. I’m also at a point where if I don’t run/exercise, I feel unfit and worse than if I had gone out and just done a little jog. It’s habit and it’s incredibly addictive. I’ve always kept going with the Great Manchester 10K, and I don’t intend to stop either.”

How do you motivate others, or do you think you have helped others start to run also?

“I hadn’t really considered before whether I motivate others, but I think so, yes. I’m 6’ 4”, 15 Stone with a big grey head, I’m quite an easy target to aim for. But similarly, this also motivates people to keep with me. I’m not naturally a runner but I’m stubborn and I do have self-motivation so by keeping going I’ve raised my level to somewhere halfway near decent. This in turn gives others a target. As previously mentioned, I pace at ParkRun whenever I can, I’m regularly recognised as the 22 min pacer, and I’ve brought quite a few other runners through to PB’s. Also pleased to say some of the younger people who used to race me have now left me in their dust, which is great to see. For a day Job I’m a Production Manager for Rolls-Royce. I have a team of 30 people. My team know I run regularly. Every now and then I’ll get one of them asking me what the best trainers are or which run should they do. They also have to suffer my annual quest for sponsorship for the Great Manchester 10K. Now I do both the Half and 10K I get them to pay a fiver and guess the combined time it will take. We donate proceeds to the Lock Hospice. I typically get a good few hundred quid together.”

What does the Power of Running mean to you, how has it helped you in your life?

“I think one part of the Power of Running is the mental health aspect. On Monday of this week, I ran in the hills for two hours covering just over a half marathon, I was wet through and covered head to toe in mud when I got back. It was a great two hours. Can I tell you what a looked at or where I went? Vaguely I can, but not in any detail. Why? I think I go into autopilot (bearing in mind my 30 years of running) and simply run and my mind just wanders. I liken it to sleep and dreaming. Dreaming is your brain defragmenting and ordering your experiences within your memory banks, when I’m running, I feel this is also what happens. Yes, you think about specific things or your route but also your brain is in defrag mode, CTRL/ALT/DELETE. End Task. Once I’ve run, come home, shower, eat a mountain of food and sit down I can properly relax as I’ve dealt with all the day to day garbage in my head whilst running! Probably not he most succinct or obvious answer but a truthful one and possibly a different perspective to what others might have, but it would be boring if we were all the same.”

How has running helped you with routine/day to day life?

“I think it’s helped me be a 47-year-old with the V02 max of a fit 20 year old and given me a resting heart rate of 40BPM. My Apple watch regularly beeps and vibrates because it thinks I’m dying. When I have my blood pressure taken (I’m still part of a Covid -19 trial) they always ask if I’m on heartbeat medications as my heart rate is so low. So, it’s helped me maintain good health and a six pack at the age of 47 (48 come race day).”


Submit your Power of Running story
Everyone who sets out for a training run or signs up to a Great Run series event is a runner, regardless of finish time, and everyone has their own reason for running. Tell us about your running story and what the Power of Running means to you, and you could feature in our campaign: https://www.greatrun.org/power-of-running/

Find your Great Run
Take your place on a start line near you. Browse all AJ Bell Great Run Series events here.